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Dennis v. Franke

United States District Court, D. Oregon

October 28, 2014

RONALD ALLEN DENNIS, SR., Petitioner,
v.
STEVE FRANKE, Respondent.

THOMAS J. HESTER, Assistant Federal Public Defender, Portland, OR, Attorney for Petitioner.

ELLEN F. ROSENBLUM, Attorney General, NICHOLAS M. KALLSTROM, Assistant Attorney General Department of Justice, Salem, OR, Attorneys for Respondent.

OPINION AND ORDER

ANNA J. BROWN, District Judge.

Petitioner, an inmate at the Two Rivers Correctional Institution, brings this habeas corpus action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. ยง 2254. For the reasons that follow, the Court DENIES the Amended Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus (#12).

BACKGROUND

On January 5, 2006, a Tillamook County grand jury indicted Petitioner on five counts of Sodomy in the First Degree, four counts of Sodomy in the Second Degree, two counts of Sexual Abuse in the First Degree, one count of Using a Child in a Display of Sexually Explicit Conduct, and one count of Sexual Assault of an Animal. Pet. Exh. 1. Attorney Alex Hamalian was appointed to represent Petitioner. Resp. Exh. 102, p. 4.

At the request of Petitioner's trial attorney, on February 28, 2006, Dr. John Cochran completed a psychological evaluation of Petitioner. Pet. Exh. 5. Dr. Cochran noted that the results of two of the psychological tests he administered indicated Petitioner was exaggerating his symptoms in order to get immediate attention and pity. Pet. Exh. 5, p. 11. Dr. Cochran diagnosed Petitioner with an adjustment disorder, alcohol abuse, pedophilia, and a personality disorder with avoidant, immature, and self-centered features. Pet. Exh. 5, p. 16.

On June 25, 2006, Dr. George Suckow evaluated Petitioner to determine whether he could aid and assist at trial. Pet. Exh. 6. Dr. Suckow summarized the results of his evaluation:

In my opinion, [Petitioner] is competent to participate in his own defense. He can cooperate with counsel, has the basic ability to understand the role of the participants in a courtroom, and can discuss recent and past events. There is a tendency on his part to demonstrate self-serving memory losses for the events of the charges but he is able to aid and assist in his own defense.
It is my further opinion that there is no indication that he has a major mental disease or defect which would have substantially impaired his ability to appreciate the criminality of his conduct or to understand the requirements of the law.

Pet. Exh. 6, p. 1.

On September 5, 2006, Dr. Suckow evaluated Petitioner for a second time. Pet. Exh. 7. During his interview Petitioner told Dr. Suckow, inter alia, that he believed the year was 1971, did not know his girlfriend (the mother of his victim), did not know what a court is, and could not tell Dr. Suckow the role of a judge, because he had never seen one. Pet. Exh. 7, p. 2-3. Petitioner also claimed that he had seen "little green men about three feet tall" come into his cell and plant a bug in his chest. Pet. Exh. 7, p. 3. Dr. Suckow concluded his evaluation as follows:

In summary, this is a young man who may be malingering some or all of his symptoms [or] who also may actually have a dissociative reaction.
It is my recommendation that he be placed at the Oregon State Hospital under ORS 161.730 for evaluation and treatment until such time as he has regained the capacity to aid and assist in his own defense. In a hospital setting it will be much easier to sort out what is in fact a dissociative disorder based upon anxiety or a malingered situation.

Pet. Exh. 7, p. 4. On September 8, 2006, the trial judge found Petitioner was not fit to proceed and committed him to the Oregon State Hospital for evaluation and treatment. Pet. Exh. 9. On October 17, 2006, Dr. Christopher Corbett evaluated Petitioner at the Oregon State Hospital. Dr. Corbett interviewed Petitioner, reviewed his progress notes, and administered several psychological tests, in one of which "every ...


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