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MAHONING COUNTY Suspect ruled unable to assist own defense

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The woman has been in county jail since September.
YOUNGSTOWN -- A Youngstown woman charged with attempted murder and felonious assault is going to a Cleveland mental health facility for treatment.
Judge Maureen A. Sweeney of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court ruled that Ceil Scott, 42, of Broadway cannot assist her defense counsel on the charges because of her mental deficiencies.
Scott is accused of stabbing a Zents Street woman on Sept. 21, 2004, in Youngstown. She was indicted on the charges in October 2004.
At a hearing Monday, Robert Andrews, an assistant county prosecutor, told the judge that two examinations on Scott's competency showed she could not help her court-appointed lawyer, John B. Juhasz, in her defense.
Juhasz said Scott suffers from a bipolar mental condition and also has anxiety attacks.
Scott maintained that she is competent to stand trial, and that she knows the consequences of her actions.
But Juhasz explained to her that though she may know the roles of the prosecutor, defense counsel and even the court stenographer, she was incapable of helping him prepare her defense.
Judge Sweeney ruled that Scott would be taken from the county jail, where she is being held on a $500,000 bond, to the Northcoast Behavioral Healthcare System near Cleveland, which specializes in mental illness treatment.
Scott will be kept there up to a year. If any time during that period reports show her mental condition has improved, the judge will have a hearing to determine if she is competent to aid in her defense.
Attempted murder carries a penalty of from three to 10 years in prison, and felonious assault carries a two- to eight-year prison term.