Dylann Roof’s attorneys ask for new court schedule, sealed mental evaluation

Roof’s mental status in question

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DUSTIN WATERS
  • Dustin Waters
Newly unsealed court documents provide a closer look at the proposed mental evaluation of accused Emanuel AME Church shooter Dylann Roof.

Earlier this week, jury selection in Roof’s federal trial was put on hold while U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel met with Roof and his attorneys for a closed hearing. Gergel later issued a motion stating that the defendant’s competency to stand trial has been called into question. In response to the court order, Roof’s attorneys proposed a set of suggestions regarding the competency proceedings aimed at protecting him from self-incrimination.

The defense proposes that any hearings related Roof’s competency be closed to the public, and if he is found to be unfit for trial, he be committed to a Bureau of Prisons medical facility for further evaluation and treatment aimed at “restoring him to competence.”

The defense is also asking that the medical examiner’s assessment be disclosed to them first, allowing the defense time to review the findings and decide whether they wish to challenge the findings. In order to ensure Roof’s attorney-client privilege and right against self-incrimination, the defense is requesting that no statements from Roof during the evaluations be used as evidence against him. The defense’s motion also includes mention that the court has found “reasonable cause to believe that the defendant may presently be suffering from a mental disease or defect” that would render Roof incompetent to stand trial.

Following the revelation that Roof would need to undergo a mental evaluation before the trial could resume, Judge Gergel stated that jury selection would begin again Nov. 21. In this week’s motion, the defense called on Gergel to postpone court proceedings even further, citing a challenging workload and concern for those associated with the trial.

“We are also trying to be sensitive to the needs of the survivors, the victims, and our client’s family. With a holiday coming up, we wish to avoid having to make any more last-minute requests for time to resolve the numerous issues of constitutional dimension that seem to be arising now virtually on a daily basis,” states the defense. “We are sure the court and the government share this feeling. We suggest that the court adopt a new schedule that avoids resuming jury selection on Nov. 21-22, 2016.”


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