in the face of a prior judicial determination of competency to stand trial. In all cases where a hearing under Section 2255 was required, there had been no such prior judicial determination.
Where there has been no finding at all -- either medical or judicial -- a § 2255 hearing may be required. Blunt v. United States, 100 U.S.App.D.C. 266, 244 F.2d 355 (1957); Lloyd v. United States, 101 U.S.App.D.C. 116, 247 F.2d 522 (1957); Smith v. United States, 106 U.S.App.D.C. 169, 177, n. 6, 270 F.2d 921 (1959). And see Sanders v. Allen, 69 U.S.App.D.C. 307, 100 F.2d 717 (1938) (same issue, but raised through habeas corpus proceedings).
And where there has been a medical finding, but no judicial finding, a 2255 hearing may also be required. Gunther v. United States, 94 U.S.App.D.C. 243, 215 F.2d 493 (1954), subsequent competency determination rev'd for improper procedures, 97 U.S.App.D.C. 254 (1956); Bishop v. United States, 350 U.S. 961, 76 S. Ct. 440, 100 L. Ed. 835 (1956), reversing 96 U.S.App.D.C. 117, 223 F.2d 582 (1955). 'The obvious purport of the Supreme Court's decision in Bishop v. United States, supra, is that the conclusive showing, required for the exception to the hearing requirement of section 2255, may not be established solely on the basis of affidavits on the issue of trial competency.' Bell v. United States, 269 F.2d 419 (9th Cir. 1959) (Bazelon, J.). (Emphasis added.)
Thus the cases establish the principle that in some instances medical affidavits alone may not be sufficient to insulate a sentence from a subsequent claim of mental incompetency at the time of trial.
But when there has been a judicial finding of mental competency, based upon a judicial hearing -- as occurred before the trial of the petitioner herein -- there is every reason to consider the issue of competency closed. The judicial hearing, held very close to the time of trial, considered the issue in a way vastly more satisfactory than could ever be done at the present time. This is particularly true in the present case, where the trial attorney not only cross-examined the psychiatrist at the competency hearing, but also offered the defense of insanity at the trial. He was thus fully alert to all the legal issues raised by the mental condition of the defendant. If there had been any further relevant evidence on the defendant's mental competency, the trial attorney would have presented it. It is the trial attorney who is peculiarly suited to press the issue of competency, since his conversations with the defendant should disclose the defendant's ability to understand the proceedings and his ability to assist the attorney in his defense. In the present case, there was a judicial hearing at which the issue of competency was fully aired, and the judicial finding there made will not be upset.
The motion will be denied.