United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Western Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE
R. ANDERSON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
CAUSE came before the undersigned United States Magistrate
Judge on the 28th day of June 2019, and on the 1st
day of July, 2019, at the Thad Cochran Federal Courthouse in
Jackson, Mississippi, upon referral by District Judge Tom S.
was represented at both hearings by attorney Damon Stevenson.
The hearing was conducted under the authority of 18 U.S.C.
§ 4241 for the purpose of determining whether or not
Defendant is competent to stand trial under federal law.
Defendant was arrested on February 5, 2019, for violations of
18 U.S.C. sections 922(a)(6); 924(a)(1)(A); and 18 U.S.C.
922(g)(3), charged with making false statements in connection
with acquisition of firearm from a licensed dealer; false
statements with respect to the information required by
Chapter 44 of the United States Code; and, possession,
receipt, or transport of firearm or ammunition by prohibited
persons. She was indicted for those crimes on January 8,
February 27, 2019, the undersigned entered an Agreed Order
 granting Defendant's motion for a psychiatric
examination and directing that Defendant undergo a mental
health examination in accordance with the provisions of
Sections 4241, 4242, and 4247, Title 18, United States Code
[#9]. Defendant underwent the examination from March 25,
2019, through April 26, 2019, at the Carswell Federal Medical
Center in Fort Worth, Texas. The results of the examination
are set forth in that report dated May 16, 2019, of Dr.
Matthew Opesso, Psy.D., and Dr. Daniel D. Kim, Ph.D. .
of the Evidence
Government proffered, without objection, a copy of the
forensic evaluation completed by the staff at Carswell .
The examiners conclude that Defendant is competent to stand
In our professional opinion, Ms. Walker is presently
competent to stand trial. Although she may have engaged in
conduct or made statements which caused the Court and her
attorney to question her competency abilities, she does not
appear to be suffering from a mental disease or defect that
would render her unable to understand the nature and
consequences of the proceedings against her or to assist in
her own defense at the present time. She has a factual and
rational understanding of the legal proceedings before her
and has the capacity to communicate with her attorney with a
reasonable degree of rational understanding, should she so
[24, p. 10].
did not refute the examiners' opinions and both she and
her counsel conceded that she understood the nature of the
charges against her as well and the consequences. Defendant
agreed with her attorney that she was capable and active in
assisting him prepare her defense. The undersigned directed
questions to Defendant regarding the nature of the pending
charges and the roles of her attorney and the prosecutor, and
she responded appropriately.
criminal defendant may not be tried unless he is competent.
Pate v. Robinson, 383 U.S. 375, 378 (1966). The
three-prong test for competence is well-settled and was
established in the case of Dusky v. United States,
362 U.S. 402 (1960). A defendant (1) must have sufficient
present ability to consult with his lawyer (2) with a
reasonable degree of rational understanding, and (3) a
rational as well as factual understanding of the proceedings
against him. Id. It is not enough for the judge to
find that “the defendant (is) oriented to time and
place and (has) some recollection of events....”
fourth prong was added by the Court in Drope v.
Missouri, 420 U.S. 162, 171 (1975): a defendant must be
able “to assist in preparing his defense.”
Although past psychiatric problems are relevant, the question
of competency is limited to the defendant's abilities at
the time of trial. United ...