STATE v. STEIGER (13766)
218 Conn. 349 (1991)
STATE OF CONNECTICUT v. ERIC K. STEIGER
Supreme Court of Connecticut.
Decision released April 16, 1991.
F. Mac Buckley, with whom was Hope C. Seeley, for the appellant (defendant).
Rita M. Shair, deputy assistant state's attorney, with whom, on the brief, were John M. Bailey, state's attorney, John H. Malone and Rosita Creamer, assistant state's attorneys, and Kathryn St. Amand, law student intern, for the appellee (state).
PETERS, C. J., CALLAHAN, GLASS, COVELLO and HULL, JS.
The defendant, Eric K. Steiger, was charged in an amended information with two counts of murder in violation of General Statutes § 53a-54a, one count of capital felony in violation of General Statutes § 53a-54b (8), one count of conspiracy to commit murder in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-48 and 53a-54a, and one count of conspiracy to commit capital felony in violation of §§ 53a-48 and 53a-54b (8).
On appeal, the defendant claims that his constitutional privilege against self-incrimination and his right to due process of law were violated when the trial court admitted into evidence a videotape recording of a psychiatric examination of the defendant conducted pursuant to Practice Book § 760.
The three judge panel could reasonably have found the following facts. At approximately 9 p.m. on July 11,
After returning to his car, the defendant became very agitated. He began banging his head against the steering wheel and shouting that he was going to go back and kill the two men. At this point, Bryan Patterson, who had left the gathering before the arrival of Price and Seymour, returned to the cul-de-sac and learned of the confrontation. When the defendant drove away from the area with Andrew Patterson and Bazzano, Bryan Patterson and several others followed the defendant to his mother's home in Suffield where the defendant was living. During the ride, Andrew Patterson told the defendant that this was "the offensive"
After the others left, the Patterson brothers and Bazzano followed the defendant to the garage attic where he kept his weapons. There the defendant put on a camouflage outfit, a black ski mask, and an Irish Republican Army pin. He then instructed Bazzano and Andrew Patterson to begin loading ammunition into certain weapons, including an M-1 carbine and a Browning nine millimeter pistol. The defendant also told Bryan Patterson to keep his mother occupied so that she would not call the police. Meanwhile, the defendant, Andrew Patterson and Bazzano loaded approximately 700 rounds of ammunition into various weapons and magazines. The defendant told Andrew Patterson that the plan was to drop him off at Kingfisher Lane and he would meet the others later at a local school. The defendant also gave a .44 magnum handgun to Andrew Patterson as if it were a final gift and said that he had wanted to kill himself the prior week anyhow.
After spending approximately forty minutes loading the weapons, the group left the attic. When they did, the defendant was armed with the M-1 carbine, the nine millimeter pistol, both of which were loaded, and a ten inch knife. He also wore a combat harness loaded with
Upon arriving at Kingfisher Lane at approximately 11 p.m., the defendant directed Bryan Patterson to pull his vehicle into the driveway of the Seymour home to see if the pickup truck was there. After Bryan Patterson did so, Seymour and Price came out of the house and began hitting Bryan's car with metal pipes. As Bryan drove away from the Seymour home, Andrew Patterson shouted, "Go, Eric, go." At that point, the defendant rolled out of the back of the hatchback in military fashion. Bazzano and Andrew Patterson then drove away. As Seymour and Price advanced toward the defendant, Seymour said, "You think you're a tough guy with a gun," and the defendant responded, "Yes." The defendant fired a warning shot into the air but Seymour and Price kept coming toward him carrying the metal pipes. The defendant then shot one of the victims, who fell, and he then turned and shot the other. After the second victim fell, the defendant reloaded the nine millimeter pistol and fired a number of shots into Price while he lay on the ground.
Kathleen Seymour, the mother of one of the victims, and Diane Seymour, Price's fiancee, were watching from the front porch area. As they screamed, the
After leaving the scene, the defendant ran through woods and fields and reached his home at approximately 12:45 a.m. on July 12, 1987. Upon arriving home, he told his mother that terrorists had been after him with pipes and that he had shot them. His mother described him as "wild looking" and "shaking" at this point. After his mother suggested calling his father or the police, the defendant told her that he would shoot his father if he came. Thereafter, the defendant and his mother walked to a nearby golf course and sat down. While there, he told her that he was on a mission and had to kill himself because that was part of "the offensive." His mother told him that he was sick and that he should go to her sister's house in the Bronx. The defendant instead said that he had to talk to Andrew Patterson and departed on foot.
He was unable to talk to Andrew Patterson, however, because Andrew and Bazzano had left Connecticut for Vermont shortly after the shooting. The defendant, nonetheless, did go to the Patterson home and when Bryan Patterson arrived there at approximately 2:15 a.m. on July 12, 1987, the defendant came from behind the Pattersons' garage. The defendant told Bryan that he had killed the two men and asked what he should do. Bryan suggested to the defendant that he should turn himself in to the police. The defendant rejected Bryan's advice. Then, after giving Bryan his web ammunition belt and telling him to throw it into the Connecticut River, the defendant hugged Bryan and returned to his home.
On December 9, 1987, the defendant filed a notice of defense of mental disease or defect pursuant to Practice Book §§ 758 and 759.
The defendant raises three constitutional claims concerning the use of the videotapes. He contends that their admission into evidence violated his privilege against self-incrimination and his right to due process of law guaranteed by the fifth and fourteenth amendments to the United States constitution and article first, § 8 of the Connecticut constitution, as amended by article seventeen of the amendments to the Connecticut constitution.
Before commencing his first interview with the defendant, Zonana handed him a printed consent form related to the videotaping procedure that was about to take place.
The defendant relies on that portion of the consent form stating that "I understand that I may withdraw this authorization at any time by furnishing written notice thereof to the Law & Psychiatry Unit...." He argues that this provision gave him the right to deny the state the ability to use the videotapes during trial. The defendant's interpretation of this provision is not
The defendant next claims that the admission into evidence of the videotapes of the psychiatric examination compelled him to testify against himself because the tapes depicted his demeanor, manner of speaking, facial expressions and body language during the examination as well as his verbal responses to Zonana's questions. The state argues that the use of the videotapes as a basis for Zonana's opinion did not violate the defendant's constitutional guarantee against self-incrimination. We agree.
Practice Book § 760 provides that "the judicial authority may ... order the defendant to submit to a psychiatric examination" and that "[n]o statement made by the defendant in the course of any examination. . . .
The issue raised by the defendant's claim of self-incrimination is not whether the defendant can be compelled to submit to a psychiatric examination. It involves instead the extent to which the fifth amendment protects a criminal defendant against the admission of evidence concerning the results of a psychiatric examination conducted pursuant to Practice Book § 760. "[I]f a defendant requests [a psychiatric] evaluation or presents psychiatric evidence, then, at the very least, the prosecution may rebut this presentation with
In State v. Manfredi, supra, 513, we stated that "[a] defendant effectively places his mental status in issue for fifth amendment purposes by filing notice of intent to rely on a defense of insanity or extreme emotional disturbance." "Once a defendant has waived the privilege [against self-incrimination by placing his mental status in issue], the state may require him to submit to a psychiatric examination, and the results of such an examination may be introduced at trial for the purpose of rebutting the defendant's mental status defenses." Id.
In arguing that his privilege against self-incrimination was violated, the defendant does not rely on the fact that the videotapes contain statements he made during the examination.
"[T]he Fifth Amendment is not violated where the evidence given by a defendant is neither related to some communicative act nor used for the testimonial content of what was said." Estelle v. Smith, supra, 463. By implication, evidence given by a defendant that is related to a communicative act or used for its testimonial content is subject to the limitations of that amendment. A demand made upon an accused is testimonial in nature if an "`attempt is made to secure a communication—written, oral or otherwise—upon which reliance
Schneider v. Lynaugh, 835 F.2d 570, 575-77 (5th Cir.), cert. denied, 488 U.S. 831, 109 S.Ct. 87, 102 L. Ed.2d 63 (1988); United States v. Stockwell, 743 F.2d 123, 125 (2d Cir. 1984); United States v. Byers, 740 F.2d 1104, 1109-15 (D.C. Cir. 1984) (plurality opinion) (Scalia, J.); United States v. Halbert, 712 F.2d 388, 389-90 (9th Cir. 1983), cert. denied, 465 U.S. 1005, 104 S.Ct. 997, 79 L. Ed.2d 230 (1984); United States v. Madrid, 673 F.2d 1114, 1118-21 (10th Cir.), cert. denied, 459 U.S. 843, 103 S.Ct. 96, 74 L. Ed.2d 88 (1982); United States v. Albright, 388 F.2d 719, 725-26 (4th Cir. 1968).
The defendant concedes that Zonana could have testified concerning his statements made during the course of the psychiatric examination and about observations of his demeanor during the examination without violating the fifth amendment because, by placing his mental state in issue, he had waived his privilege to that extent. We see no logical reason why the defendant's waiver of his fifth amendment rights would permit the state to introduce Zonana's testimony concerning the defendant's verbal responses and demeanor manifested during the psychiatric examination, yet not permit the state to introduce into evidence videotapes of that same examination. Because the results of a psychiatric examination conducted pursuant to Practice Book § 760 can be introduced at trial through the examiner to rebut a mental status defense raised by a defendant; State v. Manfredi, supra; see Buchanan v. Kentucky, supra; we do not find persuasive the defendant's claim that the introduction of the videotapes violated his privilege against self-incrimination. The tapes did nothing more than depict what Zonana could have testified to himself. Cf. State v. Wampler, 30 Or.App. 931, 569 P.2d 46, 49 (1977), cert. denied, 436 U.S. 960, 98 S.Ct. 3078, 57 L. Ed.2d 1126 (1978) (denying the defendant's claim that the admission of videotapes of a psychiatric examination violated his rights under the fifth amendment when the examination was conducted and videotaped at his request and at trial he admitted committing the offense charged).
The defendant also contends that the state's use of the videotapes violated his right to a fair trial under
The defendant's claim that his right to a fair trial under the due process clause gave him the right to have counsel present during the psychiatric examination is without merit. The defendant is unable to cite any case law supporting his claim that an accused who has placed his mental state in issue and who has been compelled to undergo a psychiatric examination has a right to the presence of counsel under the due process clause of the fourteenth amendment. We therefore reject this claim as without authority.
The defendant contends that before we conclude that the videotapes were admissible, we must examine State v. Johnson, 14 Conn.App. 586, 588-94, 543 A.2d 740 (1988), in which the Appellate Court held that neither the sixth amendment to the federal constitution nor article first, § 8 of the Connecticut constitution provides a criminal defendant with the right to counsel at psychiatric examinations conducted pursuant to Practice Book § 760.
We have examined State v. Johnson, supra, and conclude that its analysis of a defendant's right to counsel during a psychiatric examination also applies to cases such as this where the state introduces videotapes of the psychiatric examination into evidence. The defendant argues against such a conclusion by alleging that: (1) he needed the assistance of counsel in completing the consent form; (2) Zonana had no established
See Buchanan v. Kentucky, 483 U.S. 402, 422-23, 107 S.Ct. 2906, 97 L. Ed.2d 336 (1987); State v. Manfredi, 213 Conn. 500, 513, 569 A.2d 506 (1990).
As noted previously, we conclude that the consent form sought only the defendant's authorization to use the videotapes for teaching purposes. That decision did not require that the defendant receive distinctively legal advice, and therefore cannot support the defendant's sixth amendment claim. See United States v. Ash, 413 U.S. 300, 313, 93 S.Ct. 2568, 37 L. Ed.2d 619 (1973). With respect to the defendant's concerns about the lack of formalized procedures for videotaping, we note that Zonana testified that since he began videotaping in 1980 he has recorded every psychiatric examination related to a determination of criminal responsibility. The defendant's desire for more formalized procedures, while possibly relevant to the three judge panel's evidentiary ruling on admissibility, hardly gives rise to a constitutional claim. Finally, in State v. Johnson, supra, 591-93, the Appellate Court thoroughly explained why a psychiatrist conducting an examination pursuant to Practice Book § 760 is not analogous to a prosecutor.
When a criminal defendant places his mental state in issue, the relevant concern as to his sixth amendment right to counsel is whether he had an opportunity before the examination to consult with counsel about the nature and scope of the examination. Powell v. Texas, supra, 683-85; Buchanan v. Kentucky, supra, 424-25. The effectiveness of the consultation depends on the attorney's knowledge of the uses to which the results of the examination can be put. Buchanan v. Kentucky, supra. Because the defendant filed his notice of defense of mental disease or defect approximately
The defendant next argues that the three judge panel lacked the expertise to evaluate the videotapes as the basis for Zonana's opinion concerning the defendant's mental status on July 11, 1987, the date of the crimes, because the examination occurred nearly one year later when the defendant was in a controlled setting and was taking medication. In support of this argument, the defendant relies on several decisions upholding refusals to admit into evidence tape recordings or videotapes of psychiatric examinations of criminal defendants where the recordings were offered by the defendant to show the basis for an expert's opinion. Eaton v. State, 394 A.2d 217, 219-20 (Del. 1978) (tape recording); State v. Garcia, 233 Kan. 589, 597-601, 664 P.2d 1343 (1983) (videotape of examination conducted two months after commission of crime); State v. White, 60 Wn.2d 551, 568-69, 374 P.2d 942 (1962), cert. denied, 375 U.S. 883, 84 S.Ct. 154, 11 L. Ed.2d 113 (1963) (tape recording of defendant while under the
"As in all cases involving what is or is not due process, so in this case, no hard and fast rule can be laid down. The pattern of due process is picked out in the facts and circumstances of each case." Brock v. North Carolina, 344 U.S. 424, 427-28, 73 S.Ct. 349, 97 L. Ed. 456 (1953); State v. Lovelace, supra, 552. While we do not hold that the admission of a videotape recording of a psychiatric examination of a defendant who has placed his mental status in issue can never give rise to a due process claim, we find no due process violation in this case, especially in light of the fact that the three judge panel was aware that the videotapes were made nearly one year after the crimes, while the defendant was on medication. In addition, its decision
It is well established that an expert witness can be examined concerning the factual basis of his opinion. United States v. Madrid, 673 F.2d 1114, 1120-21 (10th Cir.), cert. denied, 459 U.S. 843, 103 S.Ct. 96, 74 L. Ed.2d 88 (1982) (defendant's statements during psychiatric examination admissible as basis for expert opinion); Rollerson v. United States, 343 F.2d 269, 271 (D.C. Cir. 1964); State v. Douglas, 203 Conn. 445, 452-53, 525 A.2d 101 (1987); State v. Asherman, 193 Conn. 695, 716-17, 478 A.2d 227 (1984), cert. denied, 470 U.S. 1050, 105 S.Ct. 1749, 84 L. Ed.2d 814 (1985); State v. Garcia, supra, 599; 31A Am. Jur.2d, Expert and Opinion Evidence § 75. In cases where the defendant places his mental status in issue, the basis for a psychiatric expert's opinion is one of the things that the trier of fact may consider in evaluating the testimony of that expert. State v. Perez, supra. The state offered the videotapes during rebuttal
In State v. Carter, 198 Conn. 386, 389-95, 503 A.2d 576 (1986), we held that the trial court had not abused its discretion in permitting the state to introduce evidence of a prior conviction of the defendant in order to rebut the defense of insanity. We stated that "'[w]henever insanity is asserted as a defense and is supported by any credible evidence, "it is of critical importance that the defendant's entire relevant symptomology [sic] be brought before the jury...." "[W]hen insanity is in issue, any and all conduct of the person is admissible in evidence." To this end, the trial judge should permit "an unrestricted inquiry into the whole personality of a defendant" and should "be free in his admission of all possibly relevant evidence."...'" Id., 392, quoting United States v. Smith, 507 F.2d 710, 711 (4th Cir. 1974); see also United States v. Alexander, 805 F.2d 1458, 1464 (11th Cir. 1986).
We conclude that the liberal approach applied in State v. Carter, supra, to the admission of evidence bearing
The defendant also challenges the conclusion of the three judge panel that the defendant did not prove his affirmative defenses of insanity and extreme emotional disturbance by a preponderance of the evidence and that the state proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant acted with the intent to cause the deaths of the victims.
To consider these claims properly, we must necessarily summarize the voluminous evidence presented by the defendant and the state concerning the defendant's mental state. Anne Phillips, a clinical psychologist called by the defendant, testified that on July 11, 1987, the defendant was suffering from schizophrenia with paranoid trends. Phillips indicated that this illness was marked by the defendant's extreme use of fantasy as a retreat from reality and that his hold on reality was so tenuous that his fantasies could take on delusional qualities. Phillips stated that the defendant was constantly on the defensive against personal insult,
The defendant also presented the testimony of Zeman, who concluded that on July 11, 1987, the defendant was suffering from a long-standing severe
Additionally, Zeman confirmed Phillips' testimony that the defendant is subject to severe stress when he feels threatened. Zeman concluded that as a result of the altercation at the cul-de-sac and pressure from Andrew Patterson to carry out "the offensive," the defendant became very agitated, was in an extremely disorganized state of mind and lost contact with reality. Zeman opined that at the time of the shooting of Seymour and Price the defendant was in a dissociative state during which his ability to control his actions was severely limited. Zeman was satisfied that the defendant actually believed that he was on "the offensive" and that his action was a justified mission to rid Suffield of "terrorists" endangering the town.
Zonana testified in rebuttal for the state. He concluded that on the night of the shootings the defendant was suffering from a mixed personality disorder, in that he met the criteria for several personality disorders, including antisocial, paranoid and features of schizotypal and narcissistic. Zonana specifically found that the defendant's mental disorder, although capable of reaching psychotic proportions affecting his ability to "reality test," did not satisfy the criteria for a schizophrenic disorder.
"[W]e have repeatedly stated that our review of the conclusions of the trier of fact, whether it be a judge, a panel of judges or a jury, is limited. See, e.g., State v. Brice, 186 Conn. 449, 459, 442 A.2d 906 (1982); State v. D'Antuono, 186 Conn. 414, 421, 441 A.2d 846 (1982); In re Juvenile Appeal (Docket No. 9268), [supra, 169];
In examining the basis for this conclusion, we consider together the defendant's claims that the state failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he intended to cause the deaths of Seymour and Price and that he did prove by a preponderance of the evidence the affirmative defense of insanity. Section 53a-54a (b) states that "[e]vidence that the defendant suffered from a mental disease, mental defect or other mental abnormality is admissible, in a prosecution under subsection (a), on the question of whether the defendant acted with intent to cause the death of another person." Section 53a-13 (a) provides that "[i]n any prosecution for an offense, it shall be an affirmative defense that the
We first note that although the psychiatric and psychological experts agreed that the defendant was suffering from a mental disease or defect on July 11, 1987, only Phillips and Zeman concluded that the defendant suffered from schizophrenia on that date.
Because the trier of fact can disbelieve any or all of the evidence on insanity and can construe that evidence in a manner different from the parties' assertions; State v. Evans, supra, 238-39; State v. Gordon, 185 Conn. 402, 409, 441 A.2d 119 (1981), cert. denied, 455 U.S. 989, 102 S.Ct. 1612, 71 L. Ed.2d 848 (1982); State v. Smith, 185 Conn. 63, 73-74, 441 A.2d 84 (1981); the fact that both of the defendant's experts supported his claim of insanity while the state's expert could not render an opinion on that issue does not establish that the trier of fact could not reasonably have concluded that the defendant did not prove insanity by a preponderance of the evidence. A review of the testimony of other witnesses concerning the defendant's conduct on the night that Seymour and Price were killed reveals significant support for the panel's conclusion that the defendant intended to cause the death of the victims, that he appreciated the wrongfulness of his conduct and
The testimony concerning the defendant's conduct also demonstrates that he was aware of the wrongful nature of his behavior. While returning to Kingfisher Lane, the defendant warned Andrew Patterson to slow down so that they would not be stopped by the police. Further, Zonana indicated that the defendant's expressed plan to commit suicide after the killings demonstrates that he was aware of the illegality of his acts. Additionally, after the shootings the defendant asked Bryan Patterson to dispose of the web ammunition belt by throwing it into the Connecticut River. Finally, during a conversation with his father at the police station after he was taken into custody, the defendant told his father that if the police were aware that he had gone back to Kingfisher Lane with a gun after the original confrontation, "then that's two counts of felony murder."
The three judge panel also could reasonably have determined from the evidence that at the time of the shootings the defendant was not in a delusional state in which he thought that the victims were terrorists. The defendant never mentioned terrorists to anyone before or during the shootings. The defendant fired a
The defendant also challenges the panel's finding that he did not prove the affirmative defense of extreme emotional disturbance by a preponderance of the evidence. Under § 53a-54a (a), the two elements of this affirmative defense are: (1) that the defendant committed the offense while under the influence of extreme emotional disturbance; and (2) that there was a reasonable explanation or excuse for the extreme emotional disturbance. State v. Forrest, 216 Conn. 139, 148, 578 A.2d 1066 (1990). "In the final analysis ... the ultimate determination of the presence or absence of extreme emotional disturbance [is] one of fact for the trier, aided by the expert testimony of both sides, but left to its own factual determinations." State v. Zdanis, 182 Conn. 388, 395, 438 A.2d 696 (1980), cert. denied, 450 U.S. 1003, 101 S.Ct. 1715, 68 L. Ed.2d 207 (1981); State v. Forrest, supra, 148.
The three judge panel found that the defendant's actions on July 11, 1987, were rational and were the
Although both Zeman and Phillips testified that the defendant was under the influence of extreme emotional disturbance at the time of the shootings, the panel was not obligated to accept their conclusions. State v. Evans, supra, 238. There was significant evidence from which the panel could reasonably have concluded that the defendant was not suffering from an extreme emotional disturbance on the night of July 11, 1987. For instance, Andrew Patterson testified that the defendant was in a lucid state and knew what he was doing at the time of the shootings.
Moreover, testimony concerning a prior incident involving the defendant demonstrated that he could control his emotions under similar circumstances. There
There is also significant support for the panel's finding that there was no reasonable explanation for any emotional disturbance suffered by the defendant at the time of the shootings. We recently held in State v. Ortiz, 217 Conn. 648, 656-58, 588 A.2d 127 (1991), that the determination of the reasonableness of the explanation or excuse for the emotional disturbance must be measured from the viewpoint of a reasonable person in the defendant's situation under the circumstances as the defendant believed them to be. Given the nature of the original altercation and our holding in State v. Ortiz, supra, the evidence provides sufficient support for the panel's conclusion that there was no reasonable explanation for the defendant to have suffered an extreme emotional disturbance under the circumstances as he believed them to be.
The judgment is affirmed.
In this opinion the other justices concurred.
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