A Bronx Personal Injury Lawyer said that, at an evidentiary hearing held in connection with this issue, an examining psychologist expressed the opinion that the defendant was pretending to have such disabilities “as a means to interfere with the efficient resolution” of these proceedings. Based on the psychologist’s testimony and his reports, which were admitted as exhibits at the hearing, the Court finds that the defendant has engaged in intentional conduct that “is calculated to undermine, upset or unreasonably delay the progress of the trial.” As a result, the defendant has forfeited his right to self-representation
On April 26, 2011, following the evidentiary hearing, the Court orally announced its conclusion that the defendant had forfeited his right to self-representation and stated that it would issue a written decision with its formal Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law. This is the Court’s written decision.
On May 7, 2008, the defendant was arrested and charged with Assault in the Second Degree, Criminal Contempt in the First Degree and related charges stemming from incidents that allegedly occurred on October 23, 2006, April 30, 2008, and May 5, 2008. He was also charged with Robbery in the First Degree and related charges for an accident that allegedly occurred on June 12, 2007, involving a different complainant. Finally, the defendant was charged with Assault in the Second Degree and related charges under Docket No. 2008BX029168 for acts he allegedly committed at the time of his arrest.
On May 23, 2008, the defendant was charged with Assault in the Second Degree, Criminal Contempt in the First Degree and related charges in connection with the allegations of criminal conduct on October 23, 2006, April 30, 2008, and May 5, 2008. On May 30, 2008, under Indictment No. 2052–08 (the instant matter), the defendant was charged with Robbery in the First Degree and related charges in connection with the alleged June 12, 2007, incident, and Assault in the Second Degree and related charges in connection with the alleged May 7, 2008, incident. Both matters were handled together at the calendar calls. On July 15, 2008, the counsel asked to be relieved from the representation of the defendant. After that application was granted, on July 21, 2008.
Upon his arrest on May 7, 2008, the defendant maintained to law enforcement personnel and through counsel to the Court that he was unable to hear and speak. For initial calendar calls, the Court utilized the services of a sign language interpreter. On March 30, 2009, counsel informed the Court, however, that the interpreter had stated to him that the defendant did not know any commonly used sign language and that they communicated through gestures and the defendant’s reading lips. Counsel requested that the Court provide the defendant at trial with the services of a “real-time” reporter, so that the defendant could read the proceedings on a computer screen as they were being transcribed by the court reporter.
On April 6, 2009, the Court ordered the defendant to undergo a competency examination pursuant to Criminal Procedure Law (“CPL”) § 730.30 because of a concern that the defendant did not understand the proceedings. By separate reports dated May 13, 2009, two examiners-a forensic psychiatrist, and a forensic psychologist-found the defendant fit to proceed with the criminal actions. As discussed below, both examiners concluded that the injury defendant likely was feigning his inability to hear and speak.3 In the absence of a motion for a hearing on the defendant’s fitness, on May 27, 2009, the Court directed that the criminal actions proceed against the defendant as required under CPL § 730.30(2).
To Be Cont…
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