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Sentencing – Review – Factors — Use of Pretrial Psychiatric Evaluation

State v. Joshua Slagoski, 2001 WI App 112, PFR filed 4/27/01
For Slagoski: Christopher William Rose

Issue1: Whether the results of a competency examination, which suggested that defendant presented a homicide-suicide risk, amounted to materially inaccurate information used at sentencing.

Holding:

¶9 We conclude that it is entirely reasonable that a mental competency examination designed to address a defendant’s ability to understand the proceedings and assist counsel may also address issues of future dangerousness. If the evaluation establishes dangerousness, a court may reasonably consider it when gauging the need for public protection. This is wholly consistent with Wisconsin law which requires the sentencing court to consider all relevant available information pertaining to the seriousness of the offense, the character of the offender and the need for public protection….

Issue2: Whether sentencing use of pretrial psychiatric evaluations violated the defendant’s self-incrimination and assistance of counsel rights.

Holding:

¶15 It is clear that Slagoski waived his Fifth Amendment rights when, through counsel, he initiated a psychiatric evaluation and placed his mental condition into controversy by entering pleas of not guilty and not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect. Furthermore, his own attorney requested Palermo for the psychiatric evaluation. Because Slagoski commenced the process for the pretrial evaluations and submitted to the examinations, he cannot now claim that its use in sentencing compelled him to testify against himself. (Court also explicitly rejects argument that defendant entitled to specific notice that evaluations could be used at sentencing, because “the defense was reasonably put on notice that the clinical impressions of both doctors would be highly relevant to the issue of future dangerousness, a legitimate sentencing consideration.”)

 

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