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Guste, Jr. Nathan Stansbury, Dist. Paul Gianfala, Asst. Following trial before a twelve member jury, defendant was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment at hard labor. The present appeal urges five arguments as grounds for reversal of the accused's conviction and sentence. During the late evening of April 29th,defendant picked up Carol Washington and Gloria Ann Francis under the pretext of giving them a ride to a nearby sandwich shop in Rayne, Louisiana.
Instead, defendant drove to a dark gravel road outside of Rayne, stopped the car, produced a rifle and, after firing several shots near the victims, forced each of them to have sexual intercourse with him. After this incident, defendant then drove the pair back to Rayne, where they exited the vehicle and ran to a nearby house. Defendant was apprehended shortly thereafter and pleaded not guilty to charges of aggravated rape at his arraignment on May 11, However, subsequent prosecution of the accused was delayed when a court-appointed sanity commission twice concluded that defendant was incapable of understanding the nature of the proceedings against him and that he was unable to assist in the preparation of his defense.
Following lengthy treatment in the Forensic Division of the East Louisiana State Hospital, the accused's psychotic illness was brought under control through use of medication and he was adjudged competent to stand trial. At the conclusion of this latest competency hearing on March 27,defendant withdrew his plea of not guilty and tendered to the court a plea of not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity. Immediately prior to the start of voir dire examination, the courtroom was cleared and the trial court cautioned defendant to remain quietly seated during the course of trial. Defendant ignored the court's warning, interrupting voir dire examination just moments later with the following protestation:.
They're not even familiar with my case, and they're not going to represent me, so you do what you want. For this outburst, defendant was held in contempt, and, outside of the jury's presence, again instructed to behave. However, defendant responded only by raising his shirt and scratching his navel. The state and the defense then completed voir dire examination of the first group of prospective jurors, ten of whom were selected to serve.
No sooner were these jurors sworn than defendant d his disruptive antics, this time by removing all of his clothes in open court.
Jurors and prospective jurors were quickly hustled out of the courtroom and defendant was again held in contempt. To prevent a repetition of this behavior, the trial court ordered that defendant be placed in an adjacent room where a full mechanical sound system was installed which would enable the defendant to hear all of the proceedings taking place in the courtroom.
Accompanied by John Craton, one of his court-appointed attorneys, defendant was then led into the adjacent room, where he was handcuffed and shackled. A deputy sheriff was also on hand to guard the accused. Before voir dire examination was d, Judge Fontenot questioned those jurors who had already been seated as to whether they could set aside defendant's behavior and decide the case solely on the basis of evidence adduced at trial.
Each juror responded affirmatively. Jury selection was then completed and court was adjourned for the day. Court was reconvened on the following day. On the request of counsel for the defendant, the Clerk announced that defendant had been rearraigned following his most recent competency hearing, at which time he had entered a plea of not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity.
Though both counsel for the state and for the defendant claimed surprise at this plea, neither side requested either a mistrial or a recess. The defense did request that voir dire examination be reopened to permit questions as to the jurors' understanding of the defense burden of proof in an insanity case and their ability properly to apply a preponderance of evidence standard in face of an insanity defense.
Following the denial of this motion, defense counsel moved for a mistrial, claiming that the accused was again unable to assist in his defense and that he did not understand the nature of the proceedings against him. In response, the state requested that members of the ly-appointed sanity commission re-examine the defendant and report their findings to the court.
When the defense indicated its agreement with this procedure, Dr. Wyatt, a psychiatrist of fifteen years experience, and Dr. After completing his examination of defendant, Dr. Wyatt was called to testify in support of defendant's motion for mistrial. Wyatt stated that he had ly examined the defendant on December 11, and had found at that time that the defendant was unable to assist in his defense in this case. Subsequently, he reexamined the defendant on March 27,whereupon Dr. Wyatt concluded:. Wyatt saw defendant on three or four more occasions between March 27, and September, On each occasion, he felt that defendant "had appropriate concern" about his upcoming trial.
In connection with Judge Fontenot's request that he determine the accused's present capacity to proceed with trial, Dr. Wyatt twice examined the defendanton December 6,the first day of trial, for about twenty minutes, and again on December 7, for about forty-five minutes. As regards these examinations, Dr. Wyatt testified as follows:. After direct examination by defendant's counsel and cross by the state, the trial court conducted its own examination of Dr.
In response to the court's questions, Dr. Wyatt stated that he believed the defendant to be of low average intelligence.
Wyatt also conceded that defendant's behavior might be intentionally calculated to obstruct further proceedings:. However, even considering the behavioral patterns described by the Court, Dr. Wyatt again stated that, in his opinion, defendant was incapable of assisting in his defense. The remaining member of the Sanity Commission, Dr. Robert McManus, was also called to testify in support of defendant's mistrial motion.
On direct examination, Dr. McManus testified that he had examined the defendant on numerous occasions in the past and that he had treated him in the Parish Jail for other medical problems. He testified that he too had examined the defendant on December 12, and, at that time, felt him to be in need of psychiatric care. Subsequently, in March,he reexamined the defendant and concluded that his improvement was such as to enable him to stand trial at that time.
As a result of his later examination on December 7,Dr. McManus felt that defendant would not cooperate with his attorneys, but he explained that his behavior was largely "play acting" on the part of defendant.
McManus further stated that he believed that defendant had the mental capacity and ability to put over such "play acting. On the basis of this testimony, as well as her own observations of the accused's behavior, Judge Fontenot ruled that the defendant was fully competent to stand trial.
In so ruling, the court necessarily denied defendant's motion for mistrial. It is this denial which forms the heart of defendant's first argument on appeal. By this asment, defendant contends that the trial court erred in finding that the accused had sufficient mental capacity to proceed with trial when defendant's behavior and expert psychiatric testimony indicated otherwise.
According to La. Jurisprudence interpreting this article has held that the defendant carries the burden of establishing that he lacks the capacity to understand the object, nature and consequences of the proceedings against him, and that he is unable, in a rational as well as a factual manner, to consult with counsel in a meaningful way. State v.
Weber, So. Hamilton, So. The trial court's determination of defendant's mental capacity is entitled to great weight on appeal, but, as due process requires that a defendant be competent to stand trial, Drope v. Missouri, U. Bennett, So. Weber, supra. In State v. Bennett, supra, atthis Court outlined the appropriate factors that the trial judge should consider in assessing the defendant's capacity to proceed:.
In the instant case, the defense failed to inquire as to the accused's comprehension of the word "rape" or his understanding of an insanity plea. However, at the March 27th sanity hearing, both Dr. Wyatt and Dr. McManus stated that defendant could appreciate the seriousness of a rape charge as well as the consequences of conviction. In large part, the inquiry into defendant's competence was thwarted by his failure to respond to questions. For this reason, much of the doctors' examination centered upon the accused's ability to understand the questions which were put to him.
In this regard, Dr. Wyatt felt that defendant's failure to respond was due to his preoccupation with other matters. McManus disagreed, noting that defendant had shown a greater willingness to respond to questions from Dr. Wyatt than from himself.Looking Real Sex Rayne Louisiana
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