United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Atlanta Division
OPINION AND ORDER
WILLIAM S. DUFFEY, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Magistrate Judge Russell G.
Vineyard's Report and Recommendation
(”R&R”)  on the Government's request
for a hearing pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 4241  to
determine if Defendant Travis Ball (“Defendant”)
is competent to stand trial.
6, 2016, Defendant was charged with two counts of conveying
false and misleading information through the mail, in
violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1038(a)(1), by sending to the
State Bar of Georgia and the Atlanta Journal Constitution a
threatening communication which contained a substance
purporting to be anthrax. (). On October 18, 2016, the
Government moved for Defendant to undergo a competency
hearing , to which the Defendant consented and which the
Magistrate Judge granted later that day. (). Defendant
went into the custody of the United States Attorney General
for the evaluation, which was conducted at the Federal
Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky
(“FMC-Lexington”). The report of the results of
Defendant's evaluation, dated January 11, 2017, was
provided to Defendant and the Government. The report
concluded that Defendant is competent to stand trial.
the report was completed and sent to the Court, the
Magistrate Judge conducted a hearing on January 24, 2017, to
determine if Defendant is competent to stand trial. ().
The Magistrate Judge recommended, based on the evaluation
conducted at FMC-Lexington, that the case should proceed to
STANDARD OF REVIEW
conducting a careful and complete review of the findings and
recommendations, a district judge may accept, reject, or
modify a magistrate judge's report and recommendation. 28
U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Fed. R. Crim. P. 59; Williams v.
Wainwright, 681 F.2d 732, 732 (11th Cir. 1982) (per
curiam). A district judge “shall make a de
novo determination of those portions of the report or
specified proposed findings or recommendations to which
objection is made.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). This
requires that the district judge “give fresh
consideration to those issues to which specific objection has
been made by a party.” Jeffrey S. v. State Bd. of
Educ. of Ga., 896 F.2d 507, 512 (11th Cir. 1990)
(internal citations omitted). With respect to those findings
and recommendations to which a party has not asserted
objections, the Court must conduct a plain error review of
the record. United States v. Slay, 714 F.2d 1093,
1095 (11th Cir. 1983). The parties did not file objections to
the R&R and the Court thus reviews the R&R for plain
error. In the absence of any objections to the facts in the
R&R, and finding no plain error in them, the Court adopts
the facts in the R&R.
government is prohibited under the Fifth Amendment to the
Constitution from trying a defendant who is incompetent.
United States v. Rahim, 431 F.3d 753, 759 (11th Cir.
2005). A defendant is competent to stand trial where the
defendant “has sufficient present ability to consult
with his lawyer with a reasonable degree of rational
understanding-and . . . has a rational as well as factual
understanding of the proceedings against him.”
Dusky v. United States, 362 U.S. 402, 402 (1960)
(per curiam) (internal quotation marks omitted). Neither
proof of “low intelligence, mental deficiency, nor
bizarre, volatile, and irrational behavior” is
necessarily “equated with mental incompetence to stand
trial.” Medina v. Singletary, 58 F.3d 1095,
1107 (11th Cir. 1995).
case, Defendant was evaluated by Dr. Allyson N. Wood, a
forensic psychologist at FMC-Lexington. Dr. Wood conducted a
comprehensive examination, including a review of the report
of Dr. Michael C. Hilton, M.D., which was available and
considered by the Court in deciding to require the competency
examination conducted at FMC-Lexington. Dr. Wood gave her
opinion that Defendant “is not currently suffering from
a mental disease or defect rendering him mentally incompetent
to the extent he is unable to understand the nature and
consequences of the proceeding against him or properly assist
in his defense.” (R&R at 6).
undisputed facts presented during the competency hearing
conducted by Magistrate Judge Vineyard, the Magistrate Judge
recommended that “defendant be found competent to stand
trial as he has the ‘present ability to consult with
his lawyer with a reasonable degree of rational understanding
. . . [and that he has] a rational as well as a factual
understanding of the proceedings against him.'”
(Id. at 8). The Court finds no plain error in the
Magistrate Judge's findings and recommendations. See
Slay, 714 F.2d at 1095.
reasons stated above, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Magistrate
Judge Russell G. Vineyard's Report and Recommendation
 is ADOPTED. Defendant Travis Ball is found competent to
stand trial ...