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CRAWN v. UNITED STATES

March 7, 1966

Raymond Edward CRAWN
v.
UNITED STATES of America



The opinion of the court was delivered by: SHERIDAN

 This is a motion pursuant to Title 28 U.S.C.A. § 2255 by Raymond Edward Crawn to vacate and set aside his five year sentence of imprisonment.

 On January 8, 1964, Crawn appeared with court-appointed counsel before Judge William J. Nealon of this district and pleaded guilty to an information to No. 13923 Criminal, charging him with interstate transportation of a stolen motor vehicle in violation of Title 18 U.S.C.A. § 2312. The offense was committed on December 9, 1963. On February 20, 1964, Crawn, with the same counsel, appeared before this court, and was sentenced to the five year term of imprisonment. He was delivered to the United States Penitentiary at Lewisburg, Pennsylvania (Lewisburg), on February 22, 1964. On March 2 and 14, and April 10 and 22, 1964, Crawn filed documents which were considered as motions for a reduction of sentence under Rule 35 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, and were denied.

 On February 11, 1965, he filed the instant motion to vacate and set aside the sentence on the ground that at the time of his plea and the adjudication and sentence he was insane. A rule to show cause why the motion should not be granted was issued. *fn1" On March 4, 1965, Crawn was transferred from Lewisburg to the Medical Center For Federal Prisoners, Springfield, Missouri (Springfield). *fn2" A hearing was held in Scranton on August 3, 1965. Crawn was brought in from Springfield for the hearing and was represented by the same counsel who had represented him in the criminal action. Crawn testified on his own behalf, and Dr. David Rothstein, staff psychiatrist at Springfield, testified for the Government. The Crawn records of the Springfield institution were admitted into evidence. These included pertinent records developed during Crawn's incarceration in Lewisburg and during his previous confinements in New Jersey penal institutions and in the New Jersey State Hospital at Trenton, New Jersey. Certain other medical records, some of which were included in the Springfield records, forwarded by New Jersey officials prior to the hearing to the United States Attorney for this district, were also admitted into evidence. At this point, neither petitioner nor his counsel requested appointment of a defense psychiatrist, and neither requested copies of the transcript, documentary evidence or time to file a brief.

 By separate letters received on August 20, 1965, Crawn requested this court to withhold any decision in this matter until he filed a brief, and requested the Clerk of this court to forward to him a transcript of the hearing and the New Jersey State Hospital records admitted into evidence during the hearing so that he could prepare a brief. On August 30, 1965, he filed a motion to obtain the transcript of the hearing and various psychiatric reports developed during his confinements in New Jersey and at Lewisburg. His stated intention in obtaining these documents was to use them in the preparation of a brief. Since it appeared that these communications were made without the knowledge or advice of counsel, on September 23, 1965, it was ordered that the requested documents be forwarded to counsel for his consideration and preparation of a brief within 30 days of the receipt of the documents. A petition for appointment of a psychiatrist received on September 20, 1965, also filed without counsel's knowledge, was forwarded to counsel for consideration and for a report to the court in 30 days.

 On October 11, 1965, he filed a petition to discharge counsel on the ground that he was incompetent, and requested that he be allowed to proceed in propria persona. This was denied. This petition prompted counsel to counter with a motion to withdraw, action on which was held in abeyance.

 At this point Crawn, apparently dissatisfied with the determination that he would not be permitted to proceed without counsel, began to file or forward copies of a number of documents in which he sought to obtain from the court or counsel copies of documents ordered to be forwarded to counsel. In these he attacked the competence of counsel. Those in the nature of petitions he filed with the court were denied. On November 22, 1965, he renewed his request for appointment of a defense psychiatrist.

 Since, on October 25, 1965, the Government had filed its notice of compliance with the court's order that the requested documents be turned over to counsel, and since the 30 day period allowed from that date for the filing of a brief expired on November 24, 1965, counsel was contacted relative to the brief. Counsel stated that he took no action on the court's orders because he was under the impression that action on his motion for withdrawal was necessary before he proceeded. He further stated that the attacks on him by Crawn created a situation in which he believed that he could not properly represent Crawn. In view of this misunderstanding and these statements, on December 7, 1965, his motion to withdraw was granted and new counsel was appointed and given time in which to review the case and file a brief. This apparently satisfied Crawn because he then withdrew several petitions aimed at obtaining the documents in the hands of his former counsel.

 On January 10, 1966, however, Crawn renewed his petition for appointment of a defense psychiatrist, the petition concerning which his former counsel also neglected to report to the court. Since this petition was initially presented without the knowledge of counsel, his present counsel was requested to consider this petition and to inform the court on the action he would request the court to take. Present counsel requested that action on the petition for appointment of a psychiatrist be held in abeyance until his brief was filed. Petitioner's brief was filed on January 20, 1966. The Government's brief was filed on January 25, 1966.

 There is no doubt that petitioner has had a past history of mental illness. On September 5, 1956, at the age of 16, he was committed to Annandale Reformatory in New Jersey for breaking and entering. On November 15, 1956, he was transferred to the New Jersey State Hospital in Trenton where his condition was diagnosed as "Schizophrenic Reaction, Paranoid Type." He was returned to Annandale on April 30, 1957. On the following day he was again transferred to the hospital where his condition was further diagnosed as "Sociopathic Personality Disturbance, Anti-Social Reaction," and was returned again to Annandale on July 11, 1957. On December 26, 1957, it was concluded there was a remission from his psychosis. He was paroled from Annandale on March 17, 1958.

 About two months later, in May 1958, Crawn was again arrested for breaking and entering in New Jersey, and on July 15, 1958, he was sent to the New Jersey State Hospital where his condition was diagnosed as "Sociopathic Personality Disturbance, Anti-Social Reaction." At this time it was decided that he would not fit into a psychiatric hospital, and it was recommended that he be treated in a correctional institution. On October 1, 1958, he was transferred to the Warren County Jail and from there to the Bordentown Reformatory. Within a few days of his commitment, however, on October 7, 1958, he was again transferred to the hospital, where his condition continued to be diagnosed as "Schizophrenic Reaction, Residual Type." He was adjudged legally insane on January 8, 1959. He remained at the hospital until May 25, 1960, when he was returned to Bordentown. He cut his wrists on a mattress and was found inaccessible when spoken to by the Reformatory's psychiatrist. On the following day, May 26, 1960, he was returned to the hospital. The hospital's admission note at this time indicated:

 
"On admission the patient did not offer any complaints, he was neat, tidy and clean in his personal appearance. The patient had a very small laceration over his left forearm and no stitches were necessary. The patient was in good contact with his environment and he has a good grasp of his surroundings. He was correctly oriented to time, place and person. He was responsive but not overly alert or communicative. He answered questions relevantly although he did not elaborate much. No hallucinations or delusions could be elicited. The patient seemed to be dull and indifferent to some extent. He didn't show any evidence of depression and the patient stated he did not like it in the N.J. Reformatory at Bordentown and for this reason he cut his wrist so that he could be sent back here. Patient stated he cut his wrist purposely and deliberately."

 On August 18, 1960, he was again adjudged legally insane. He was returned to Bordentown on April 26, 1961. From this time until the commission of the instant offense, Crawn was not hospitalized for any mental difficulty.

 On October 11, 1961, he was paroled from Bordentown. Three days later he was charged with assault on a neighbor, and on October 15, 1961, he was returned to Bordentown as a parole violator. On January 16, 1962, he was transferred to the New Jersey State Prison Farm, Rahway, New Jersey, and on November 27, 1962, to the New Jersey State Prison. He was discharged from the New Jersey State Prison at the expiration of his maximum sentence on February 9, 1963. On February 12, 1963, he was sentenced to three months in the Warren County, New Jersey jail for disorderly conduct. In Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, in June and July 1963, he was fined for drunk and disorderly conduct, and in November 1963, he served 30 days in Warren County for breaking and entering. In summary, at the time of his arrest ...


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