Attorney requests second evaluation for client; judge agrees


By Joe Gorman

jgorman@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

A second competency evaluation on an inmate at the Mahoning County jail, accused of trying to strangle a corrections officer in July, was ordered Wednesday.

The evaluation was ordered by Judge R. Scott Krichbaum in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court for Lucky Mitchell, 33, at the request of Mitchell’s lawyer, Doug Taylor.

Taylor told the judge he disagrees with an evaluation of Mitchell that found he is competent. Taylor said there is no way his client is able to participate in his own defense.

Mitchell faces charges for a July 8 attack on a corrections officer at the county jail, where he was being held on charges stemming from a June 25 arrest by Youngstown police. The incident was caught on video at the jail. The corrections officer got help from other inmates to fend off the attack by Mitchell, reports said.

Taylor had asked for an earlier competency evaluation, and that evaluation came back showing that Mitchell is competent. For a defendant to be ruled competent, he or she must be able to understand the charges and aid the attorneys in preparing their defense.

But Taylor said that despite what the evaluation said, his client cannot assist him in preparing a defense.

“The competency is not there,” Taylor said.

Judge Krichbaum said that while a doctor’s evaluation is important, he also said that he thinks sometimes the attorney’s role in the process is ignored. He said attorneys need to interact with their clients in a way that doctors cannot and they often know whether their clients need help or not.

“The lawyer is probably the best one to say a defendant can counsel in his own defense,” Judge Krichbaum said.

Judge Krichbaum said the second evaluation must be completed by the first week of November.

If a defendant is found incompetent to stand trial, he is then placed in a facility where he can be treated until his competency can be restored. If that process can not be completed within a year, a defendant is then held in a treatment facility for the length of the sentence for the crime the defendant is accused of committing.

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