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United States v. Bonhomme

United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Atlanta Division

August 4, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
JEEF BONHOMME, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          WILLIAM S. DUFFEY, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court on Magistrate Judge John K. Larkins, III's Amended Report and Recommendation [35] (“R&R”), which recommends that Defendant Jeef Bonhomme (“Defendant”) be declared not competent to stand trial and not restorable. The Magistrate Judge recommends further that the Court direct the Attorney General to ensure that the director of the Federal Medical Center at Butner, North Carolina (“FMC Butner”), determines, under 18 U.S.C. § 4246(a), whether a certification of dangerousness should be issued. The parties waived their rights to file objections to the R&R. ([36]).

         I. BACKGROUND

         On August 2, 2016, a federal grand jury returned an indictment [9] charging Defendant with two counts of mailing threatening communications, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 876(c).

         On August 15, 2016, Magistrate Judge Alan J. Baverman granted the Government's unopposed motion and ordered Defendant, under 18 U.S.C. § 4241(b), to undergo psychiatric evaluation to address Defendant's competence to stand trial. ([20]).

         On December 6, 2016, Dr. Joseph S. Zonno, Ph.D., a forensic psychologist at FMC Butner, issued his forensic mental health evaluation of Defendant. Dr. Zonno found that Defendant was exhibiting symptoms of a psychotic disorder that interferes with his ability to understand the proceedings against him, communicate effectively with counsel, assist in his own defense, evaluate evidence, and maintain appropriate courtroom behavior.

         On February 9, 2017, Magistrate Judge Larkins conducted a hearing regarding Defendant's competency. Defendant refused to attend the hearing. After considering Dr. Zonno's evaluation and the argument of counsel at the hearing, Magistrate Judge Larkins found, by a preponderance of the evidence, that Defendant was presently suffering from a mental disease or defect rending him mentally incompetent to the extent that he is unable to understand the nature of the consequences of the proceedings against him or to assist properly in his defense. (February 9, 2017, Order [27] at 1-2). Magistrate Judge Larkins, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 4241(d), committed Defendant to the custody of the Attorney General for hospitalization and treatment in connection with further evaluation of Defendant's mental competency. (Id. at 2).

         On June 23, 2017, Warden J.C. Holland provided the Court and counsel with a further evaluation of Defendant performed by Dr. Kristina P. Lloyd, Psy. D., a forensic psychologist at FMC Butner. Dr. Lloyd found that Defendant's mental condition continued to render him not competent to stand trial.

         On July 10, 2017, Magistrate Judge Larkins conducted a status conference to consider Dr. Lloyd's report. Based on Dr. Lloyd's report, counsel for the parties agreed that Defendant is not competent to proceed and that he is unlikely to be restored to competency, and the Government conceded that forced administration of medication is not warranted in this case. (R&R at 3). The parties also agreed that Defendant should be evaluated, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 4246(a), to determine if he is “presently suffering from a mental disease or defect as a result of which his release would create a substantial risk of bodily injury to another person or serious damage to property of another.”

         On July 19, 2017, Magistrate Judge Larkins issued his R&R. The Magistrate Judge concluded, based on Dr. Lloyd's report, that Defendant is not competent to stand trial and it is not likely that his competency will be restored. Because Defendant's mental condition has not improved to permit proceedings to proceed, Magistrate Judge Larkins recommended that the Court direct the Attorney General to ensure that the director of FMC Butner determines, under 18 U.S.C. § 4246, whether a certification of dangerousness should be issued.

         On July 31, 2017, the parties “waive[d] their respective rights to file objections to the [R&R].” ([36]).

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Legal Standard

         After 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 (11th Cir. 1982), cert. denied, 459 U.S. 1112 (1983). 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 ...


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