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United States v. Bumagin

United States District Court, E.D. New York

April 10, 2015

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
SEMYON BUMAGIN, Defendant

For Semyon Bumagin, Defendant: Zoe Jayde Dolan, LEAD ATTORNEY, Zoe J. Dolan, Esq., New York, NY.

For USA, Plaintiff: Jacquelyn M. Kasulis, LEAD ATTORNEY, United States Attorneys Office, Brooklyn, NY; James Donald Gatta, LEAD ATTORNEY, United States Attorneys Office, Eastern District of New York, Brooklyn, NY; Kevin M Trowel, USAO - EDNY, Brooklyn, NY.

DECISION AND ORDER

HON. WILLIAM F. KUNTZ, II, United States District Judge.

On June 13, 2012, defense counsel requested the Court determine whether Defendant Semyon Bumagin (" Defendant" ) is competent to stand trial and assist properly in his own defense. Defendant subsequently underwent three separate competency evaluations. The Court held a competency hearing on July 21 and 22, 2014, and the parties submitted post-hearing briefing. On December 10, 2014, the Court ordered an additional competency evaluation from Dr. Sanford L. Drob, a

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Court-appointed psychologist. Having received Dr. Drob's evaluation, and based on the Court's own observations of the Defendant, the Court hereby finds as a matter of fact that the Defendant is competent to stand trial and to assist properly in his own defense.

BACKGROUND

The Court assumes the parties' familiarity with the facts of this action and with the three previous evaluations of Defendant undertaken by Dr. Monica Rivera-Mindt, PhD., in May 2012 (" Mindt Report" ), by Dr. Dana Brauman in July and August 2012 (" Brauman Report" ), and by Dr. Jill Grant[1] of the Federal Medical Center in Butner, North Carolina, (" FMC Butner" ) in April 2013 (" Grant Report" ). See Dkt. 90 (" Competency Order" ) at 1-7; see also Dkt. 80-1 (Mindt Report); Dkt. 80-2 (Brauman Report); Jill R. Grant, Jill C. Volin, Amor Correa, & Tracy O'ConnoPennuto, Forensic Evaluation, Mental Health Department, Federal Medical Center, Butner, North Carolina (2013) (Grant Report). The Court also assumes the parties' familiarity with the testimony provided at the two-day competency hearing held on July 21 and 22, 2014. Competency Order at 3-7.

On December 10, 2014, following in-depth post-hearing briefing by both parties, the Court determined there was insufficient evidence to render a decision on Defendant's competency. Competency Order at 1. Accordingly, the Court appointed Dr. Sanford L. Drob, PhD., to conduct an additional competency evaluation of the Defendant. Id. at 12.

On April 7, 2015, Dr. Drob provided his final report on Defendant's competency to the Court. Sanford L. Drob, Forensic Psychological Report (2015) (hereinafter " Drob Report" ). Dr. Drob's report is thorough and detailed. In the report, Dr. Drob stated " [t]he results of the current testing, if taken at face value, are indicative of a significant decline in [Defendant's] cognitive functioning since he was assessed [by Dr. Brauman] in August of 2012 and [by Dr. Grant] at [FMC] Butner in April, 2013." Id. at 14 (emphasis added). Dr. Drob noted that many of Defendant's test results were " consistent with his making a reasonable effort on testing" and Dr. Drob indicated that " my impression was that he was thinking about and even struggling with the answers each time in a manner that suggested that he was providing an honest rather than a manipulative response." Id. at 16. Dr. Drob, however, also suggested that certain of Defendant's results could be explained by " an effort to present such a decline [of memory]" and Dr. Drob expressed " some suspicion that [Defendant] may at times exaggerate cognitive deficits on testing[.]" Id. at 17-18. Ultimately, Dr. Drob concluded that, while there is a " significant remaining question ... [of] whether [Defendant] is malingering or exaggerating cognitive deficits so as to mislead the examiners, counsel[,] and the [C]ourt," Defendant on balance is incompetent to stand trial and is unlikely to be restored to competency. Id. at 19-22.

DISCUSSION

I. Legal Standard

For a defendant to be competent to stand trial, he must have " sufficient present ability to ...


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