MEMORANDUM OF THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT ON REMAND FROM THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
PARKER, District Judge.
In this memorandum the District Court will set forth the proceedings which have been conducted and the findings which have been made on remand of this case from the Court of Appeals.
Pursuant to orders of the Court of Appeals of July 16, 1973, and August 10, 1973, an updated study of the defendant was performed in accordance with 18 U.S.C. § 5010(e) for the purpose of obtaining information concerning the defendant's suitability for treatment under the Federal Youth Corrections Act (YCA). After receipt of the updated 5010(e) report, which purported to recommend against a YCA sentence, the Court determined that it would be necessary to conduct further proceedings in order to present to the Court of Appeals a supplemented record which contained a clear and adequate disclosure on the issues relating to the defendant's sentence. As a result of this inquiry the Court has observed that the recommendations of the updated and original 5010(e) reports against sentencing the defendant under the YCA are founded on improper considerations of law and fact and thus do not support the prior judgment of this Court sentencing the defendant as an adult. Futhermore, during the course of these proceedings the Court discovered procedural and substantive problems in the 5010(e) observation and study process at the Lorton Youth Center's diagnostic unit which have been impeding the preparation of "the type of thorough, knowledgeable report which the Court requires to exercise its responsibilities under the [YCA]."
Accordingly, the District Court submits this supplemented record to the Court of Appeals and suggests that the case be remanded so that this Court may: (1) entertain a motion to resentence the defendant pursuant to Rule 35 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure for correction of an illegal sentence; and (2) establish guidelines and instructions for the Department of Corrections to correct present inadequacies in the 5010(e) evaluation process, as reflected in the record, pursuant to the Court's power under 18 U.S.C. § 5010(e) to designate the quality of the information which it desires from the classification or diagnostic agency.
Factual Background and Summary of the Proceedings on Remand
The defendant was convicted of first degree felony murder
The 5010(e) report which the Court received, dated September 28 and 29, 1973, consisted of a Classification Study prepared by George F. DeFord, Classification and Parole Officer; a Psychological Evaluation prepared by Robert L. Goldstone, Clinical Psychologist; and the Classification Committee's Evaluation and Recommendation signed by Mr. DeFord, Mr. Goldstone, and Joseph E. Cheek, then Associate Superintendent of the Classification Unit.
The Classification Committee recommended against a Youth Act commitment for the defendant:
The Classification Committee, therefore, in reaching its conclusion that the defendant should not be committed to the Youth Center relied heavily on the defendant's involvement in progressively more aggressive offenses for the preceding eight years, his assaultive nature, and his need for a more structured and longer term incarceration than he would receive at the Youth Center.
The Classification Study explained that the defendant had only a modicum of potential for rehabilitation, probably not within the framework of the Youth Center, because he was thought to be dull witted, and a "street sophisticate" and "follower type" who has committed progressively more serious aggressive acts.
The Psychological Evaluation pointed out that the defendant's major need was psychotherapy which, to be effective, would have to extend for a period longer than the time an individual customarily remains at the Youth Center. It concluded that the defendant should not therefore be sentenced under the YCA.
Relying on this 5010(e) report the Court found that the defendant would not benefit from rehabilitative treatment under the YCA, principally for the reason that "the defendant's past and increasing participation in aggressive anti-social behavior" required treatment for a longer period, in a more structured program, and with more extensive psychotherapy, than would be available from a commitment to the Youth Center.
On appeal the defendant challenged, inter alia, the sentence imposed by the District Court for the reason that the Classification Committee might have placed improper reliance in formulating its recommendation against a YCA commitment on the existence of an illegal sentencing alternative.
The Court of Appeals held, in an opinion filed June 6, 1973,
The Court initiated the reconsideration of the defendant's sentence by requesting, on July 5, 1973, the preparation of an updated 5010(e) report. The request indicated that additional disclosure would be necessary if the recommendation of the Classification Committee again relied on factors such as overcrowding, lack of local treatment services which meet the defendant's needs, and the defendant's character traits, such as aggressiveness or assaultiveness, factors which in the original 5010(e) report were of some concern to the Court of Appeals.
The mandate of the Court of Appeals filed on July 16, 1973, remanded the record to the District Court "for the limited purpose of allowing the trial court to entertain a motion of appellant to have appellant transferred to the Youth Center for an updated 5010(e) Report." The mandate did not appear to grant the District Court jurisdiction to reconsider Youth Corrections sentencing, as had been indicated in the opinion of June 6, 1973, and the Court proceeded accordingly.
On August 10, 1973, the Court of Appeals ordered that this case be reheard en banc on the basis of the record as supplemented by the District Court in accordance with the order of July 16, 1973, and vacated the opinion and judgment filed on June 6, 1973.
The updated 5010(e) report, received by the Court in late August, 1973, consisted of a Special Progress Report on the defendant's adjustment to the Lorton adult complex prepared by Classification and Parole Officer Pearson Parker; a Psychological Re-Evaluation prepared by Mr. Goldstone; and an August 17, 1973 "Addendum to Classification Study Dated September 29, 1971" signed by a Classification Committee consisting of Mr. Goldstone, Mr. DeFord, and M. H. Stokes, Acting Administrator of the Diagnostic Center. The Addendum addressed what the Committee
The Addendum also pointed out, however, that the defendant had a dire need for placement in psychotherapy which could be made available at the Youth Center and which could have a significant beneficial impact if the defendant's involvement were long term.
After consideration of the updated 5010(e) report it became apparent that further inquiry into matters presented by the report would be required in order to provide the Court of Appeals with a totally clear and adequate record on remand containing complete disclosure on the issues relevant to the sentencing of the defendant. This inquiry was necessary because particularly with respect to the defendant's ability to benefit from psychotherapy, academic and vocational treatment programs, the Court ascertained ambiguities and inconsistencies in the updated report, discrepancies between the original and updated reports, and the lack of comprehensive factual background data to support and explain the Committee's recommendations. The updated and original reports also raised significant questions as to whether the type of information and analysis which the District Court had been receiving generally in 5010(e) reports was sufficient to enable a judge to make a knowledgeable determination of whether an offender would benefit from a YCA sentence.
Thus the Court initiated an extensive probe into the 5010(e) process in order to insure that the 5010(e) studies of the defendant could be thoroughly evaluated in view of the applicable YCA sentencing criteria, and to bring to light the underlying problems affecting the quality of the studies which the Court had been receiving, as reflected in the studies of the defendant. In furtherance of its inquiry the Court appointed amici curiae; sent a questionnaire to the Department of Corrections to elicit information relevant to sentencing of persons under the YCA; requested a clarification of the updated 5010(e) report; conducted a hearing to further illuminate the reasoning behind the Classification Committee's recommendations; and requested the Board of Parole to review the defendant's case. The Court gratefully acknowledges the prodigious assistance provided by the amici curiae and the defendant's counsel in these proceedings.
The clarification of the updated 5010(e) report, dated November 30, 1973 and entitled "Supplement to Addendum Dated August 11, 1973,"
(1) The defendant has made a satisfactory adjustment to the Lorton adult
(2) The defendant's low intelligence level would hamper any significant progress in academic and vocational programs;
(3) The defendant needs long term psychotherapy treatment which he could obtain at the adult complex.
The Board of Parole, after review of the defendant's case, submitted a letter dated January 16, 1974 signed by H. Albion Ferrell, Vice Chairman, reversing the position which it took after review of the original 5010(e) report,
The answers to the November 1973 questionnaire to the Department of Corrections contain information of a general nature on the 5010(e) observation and study process at the Lorton Youth Center, such as the standards and factors involved in making a 5010(e) recommendation, and statistics on the treatment programs, facilities, staff, inmate population, and so on. Also a substantial quantum of testimony was developed at the hearing on December 28, 1973 and January 2, 1974 relating to the 5010(e) studies of the defendant and to diagnostic unit procedures at the Lorton Youth Center and Federal Youth Centers. The Court called as witnesses three members of the Classification Committee: Mr. Cheek, Mr. DeFord and Mr. Goldstone; the Administrator of Lorton Youth Center I, Robert C. Whitaker; and the Administrator of Case Management for the Federal Bureau of Prisons, James D. Williams. Information from these sources will be cited where it is relevant to the discussion in subsequent portions of this memorandum.
Adequacy of the Reasons Contained in the 5010(e) Reports As a Basis for Denying a YCA Sentence
The detailed inquiry which has been conducted, as summarized in the preceding section, served to clarify and flesh out the findings and reasoning of the Lorton Youth Center diagnostic personnel who participated in the 5010(e) evaluation of the defendant. For this reason these proceedings are considered to have been within the intended scope of the Court's jurisdiction on remand. A question remains, however, as to the extent to which the Court may delve into an analysis of the factual record which it has developed, particularly when that
The record as supplemented by the Court plainly reveals that the defendant's adult sentence is invalid because it was based on reasons which were and are not factually and legally inadequate to sustain a finding that the defendant would not benefit from treatment under the YCA. At the very least the record demonstrates that under the present circumstances it would be in the interests of justice to reconsider the defendant's eligibility for YCA sentencing. Because the Court considers that it has a duty to facilitate the correction of an illegal sentence whenever such may appear, it sets forth the following findings in support of its suggestion of remand of the case for reconsideration of sentence, or alternatively, for the use of the Court of Appeals in connection with the rehearing of this case en banc.
When the reasons and conclusions in the several 5010(e) reports in support of the Classification Committee's recommendation against YCA treatment are distilled to their essence, four primary considerations emerge.
1. Need for Long Term Psychotherapy Treatment.
A consistent theme of the 5010(e) reports has been the defendant's need for psychotherapy treatment extending over a long term, i. e., approximately one to five years.
The hesitancy of Mr. Goldstone and the Classification Committee
This philosophy is also shared by Mr. Whitaker, Administrator of Lorton Youth Center I:
Mr. Whitaker regards treatment to be long term if it is in excess of two years.
The picture which emerges is that the Lorton Youth Center, because of its limited capacity, has been oriented to provide only short term treatment (i. e., less than two years) and offenders who require treatment for longer periods are likely to be rejected for that reason. In the defendant's case, he was rejected not because he would not benefit from YCA treatment, but because he needed more treatment than the Lorton Youth Center staff felt it could provide.
The Federal Youth Corrections Act, 18 U.S.C. § 5010(c), expressly provides for long term treatment for youth offenders. Congress added what is now section 5010(c) to the YCA "so that those youths who might not have qualified for treatment under section 5010(b) because of the inadequacy of the six year limitation, could be sentenced under the Act."
Thus reliance by the Court on the defendant's need for long term psychotherapy treatment in denying the defendant a YCA sentence was improper.
2. Inability to Achieve Academic or Vocational Gains.
Although not cited in the original 5010(e) report, the subsequent 5010(e) recommendations against YCA sentencing relied on the defendant's lack of potential to benefit from academic or vocational programs at the Youth Center because of his low intelligence.
At the outset it should be stated that the defendant's inability to achieve educational or vocational gains does not necessarily mean that he would not benefit from YCA treatment. Such programs may be unnecessary where the causes of an offender's antisocial tendencies are correctable primarily through psychological, psychiatric or other treatment. The 5010(e) reports did not address the question of whether or to what extent the defendant needed academic and vocational treatment. Instead they simply concluded that he would not fit into the established programs at the Youth Center, regardless of whether those programs provided the spectrum of treatment services contemplated by the YCA or needed by the defendant. Although the defendant's capacity to make academic or vocational gains may very well be related to whether he could make rehabilitative progress from treatment under the YCA, the 5010(e) reports neither commented on this question nor provided the Court with sufficient information upon which to make a determination.
Addressing solely the question of whether the defendant's low intelligence level would "hamper his making any significant progress in a school and/or vocational program" at the Youth Center, the evidence on the record does not support the Classification Committee's position and some of it tends to show that the defendant would make academic, vocational and rehabilitative progress from participating in the programs. The defendant had been characterized to be in the "bottom of the dull range of intelligence"
Thus the defendant does appear to have some rehabilitative potential in the academic and vocational areas, and whatever this potential is, it has not been shown why it would adversely affect the defendant's ability to benefit from rehabilitative treatment under the YCA.
3. Satisfactory Adjustment to the Adult Complex and Detriment to Emotional Stability Resulting From Transfer to the Youth Center.
The Classification Committee recommended that the defendant should remain at the adult complex because he has made a satisfactory adjustment and might be adversely affected by a transfer to the Youth Center since he would not be among his peers and his relatively long term confinement witnessing other inmates come and go could be emotionally discomforting.
As a legal justification for denying an eligible offender a YCA sentence this reasoning is dubious. Only if the Court finds that the defendant would not derive benefit from rehabilitative treatment under the YCA can it sentence him as an adult.
Additionally, the Classification Committee has provided no underlying factual data to support its conclusions. Although it is possible that transfer to the Youth Center might adversely affect the defendant's emotional stability, it seems just as plausible that continued confinement at the adult complex would unnecessarily expose the defendant to more hardened criminal types, in violation of the intent of the Act, and would negatively affect his emotional stability because of the knowledge that no matter how well he performs he must remain confined for 20 years. Not only did the Classification Committee fail to address these questions, but they did not consult with the defendant to determine directly what his feelings would be about transfer.
4. Prior Record of Aggressive Behavior.
In the original 5010(e) study the Classification Committee, after examining the defendant's prior criminal
The principal reasons cited in the original 5010(e) report and relied upon by the Court for sentencing the defendant as an adult, and the reasons subsequently established in the August 17, 1973 Addendum and November 30, 1973 Supplement, are insufficient to support a finding that the defendant would not benefit from rehabilitative treatment under the YCA. Accordingly, it is suggested that this case be remanded to permit the Court to vacate the prior illegal sentence which it entered and to reconsider the eligibility of the defendant for a YCA sentence. On remand the Court contemplates the issuance of guidelines and instructions to the Lorton Youth Center classification or diagnostic unit to insure that future 5010(e) reports will contain information which is legally and factually relevant to the question of whether an offender would derive benefit from rehabilitative treatment under the YCA.
The need for guidelines of this type has been made clear. The several 5010(e) reports, the testimony of the members of the Classification Committee and correctional officials, and the responses to the Court's questionnaire, demonstrate that the 5010(e) study and observation process at the Lorton Youth Center is marred by a lack of understanding of the kind of information