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United States v. Campbell

United States District Court, E.D. New York

July 6, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
LEON CAMPBELL, also known as “Country, ” and RONALD WILLIAMS, also known as “Blackman, ” “Jermaine, ” “Leon Gordon, ” and “Marcus Reese, ” Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM & ORDER

          DORA L. IRIZARRY, Chief United States District Judge

         On November 8, 2016, defendant Ronald Williams (“Williams”) filed a pretrial motion seeking an order, pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 12.2(c)(1) and 18 U.S.C. § 4241, compelling his codefendant Leon Campbell (“Campbell”) (hereinafter collectively, “Defendants”) to undergo a criminal responsibility examination. See Mem. of Law in Supp. of Pretrial Mot. for a Crim. Resp. Exam. of Leon Campbell on Behalf of Def. Ronald Williams (“Williams Mot.”), Dkt. Entry No. 245. Both the United States and Campbell oppose the request. See Ltr. in Opp. to Ronald Williams' Mot. (“Campbell Opp.”), Dkt. Entry No. 250; Mem. of Law Opp'g Def. Ronald Williams' Mot. Req'g a Crim. Resp. Exam. of Leon Campbell (“Gov't Opp.”), Dkt. Entry No. 251. The matter was fully submitted[1] upon the submission of Williams' reply papers. See Reply Mem. in Supp. of Pretrial Mot. for a Crim. Resp. Exam. of Leon Campbell on Behalf of Def. Ronald Williams (“Williams Reply”), Dkt. Entry No. 252.

         For the reasons set forth below, Williams' motion is denied.

         Discussion[2]

         Williams' motion stems from four charges in the Superseding Indictment that allege Defendants participated in: (1) a conspiracy to distribute marijuana, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 846 and 841(b)(1)(C); (2) a conspiracy to commit obstruction of justice murder, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1512(k) and 1512(a)(3)(B)(i); (3) a conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1958(a); and (4) a conspiracy to commit a Hobbs Act robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1951(a). See Superseding Ind., Dkt. Entry No. 141 at ¶¶ 1-3, 7. The Supreme Court “has repeatedly said that the essence of a conspiracy is an agreement to commit an unlawful act.” United States v. Jimenez Recio, 537 U.S. 270, 274 (2003) (internal citations and quotation marks omitted). Conspiracies are crimes of specific intent and, as such, a conviction requires that “the [G]overnment establish[] beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant had the specific intent to violate the substantive statute, ” and form an agreement with at least one other person to do so. United States v. Hassan, 578 F.3d 108, 123 (2d Cir. 2008) (citing United States v. DiTommaso, 817 U.S. 201, 218 (2d Cir. 1987)) (emphasis in original).

         Williams claims that the proposed examination is crucial to his defense against the four conspiracy charges because, if he could establish that Campbell lacked the mental capacity to enter into agreements at the times of the alleged offenses, no conspiracies would exist.[3] Williams Mot. at 6. Williams asserts that “[t]he only question . . . is whether this Court may order” Campbell to undergo a criminal responsibility examination, against his will and his counsel's advice, so that Williams may advance his defense. Id. at 3-5. The Court finds that, under the circumstances of this case, it may not enter such an order.

         I. Statutory Authority

         Williams' arguments derive from the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure and associated statutes. Although Williams readily acknowledges that no precedent exists to support his argument, he asserts that Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 12.2(c)(1) and 18 U.S.C. §§ 4241 (“§ 4241”), 4242 (“§4242”) grant courts, in spirit, if not in practice, the authority to compel any defendant to undergo a criminal responsibility examination against his or her will. Id. at 2-5. While these provisions “contemplate a defendant filing notice of a psychiatric defense, and the court ordering the defendant to be examined in conjunction with that defense, at the behest of the [G]overnment, ” Williams maintains that the Court should grant his application because he stands in a position equivalent to that of the Government in the contemplated scenario. Id. at 4. In opposition, the Government correctly notes that “no court has ever ordered a 4242 Exam under similar circumstances.” Gov't Opp. at 3.

         As an initial matter, Williams' motion is made solely pursuant to § 4241. Reliance on this statute is completely misplaced, as the Court previously noted at an oral argument on this motion.[4]That statute concerns the mental capacity to stand trial and undergo post-release proceedings. See United States v. Bumagin, 114 F.Supp.3d 52, 55-56 (E.D.N.Y. 2015); United States v. Shenghur, 734 F.Supp.2d 552, 553 (S.D.N.Y. 2010); see also United States v. Hutchinson, 253 F. App'x 883 (11th Cir. 2007) (results of tests performed to determine a defendant's competence to stand trial were inadmissible to negate that defendant's specific intent to enter into a conspiracy). For an examination of a defendant's cognitive abilities at the time of the alleged offense, the governing statute is 18 U.S.C. § 4242.

         Assuming that Williams intended to move under the applicable statute, the language of the operative law and rule is clear and unambiguous: the examination pertains to a defendant challenging his or her own mental capacity at the time the offense was committed. The Court so noted this at the August 11, 2016 conference. See Aug. 11, 2016 Tr. at 17-18 (finding that § 4242 and Rule 12.2 clearly are intended to apply to the defendant raising the defense). In the interest of justice and due process, the Court nonetheless granted Williams the opportunity to analyze the issue and present his arguments by written motion. As discussed more fully below, the Court remains unpersuaded that § 4242 permits the examination of a codefendant, as requested by Williams, for the purpose of determining whether that codefendant had the ability to enter into a criminal conspiracy.

         First, in order to invoke an examination under § 4242, Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 12.2(c)(1)(B) provides:

If the defendant provides notice under Rule 12.2(a), the court must, upon the government's motion, order the defendant to be examined under 18 U.S.C. § 4242.

         Williams recognizes the applicability of Rule 12.2(c)(1)(B), as he asserts that his memorandum of law constitutes the “formal notice” required by Rule 12.2(a).[5] Williams Mot. at 2. Incorporating the condition precedent of proper notice under Rule 12.2, § 4242(a) states:

Upon the filing of a notice, as provided in Rule 12.2 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, that the defendant intends to rely on the defense of insanity, the court, upon motion of the attorney for the Government, shall order that a psychiatric or psychological examination of the defendant be conducted, and that a psychiatric or psychological ...

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