BOOCHEVER, Chief Justice.
Billy McKinney was indicted for assault and stabbing with intent to kill in violation of AS 11.15.160
In this appeal, McKinney challenges the trial court's findings of sanity and competence. He raises issues concerning the interrelationship between voluntary intoxication and the insanity defense and the appropriate standard of review. Additionally, McKinney claims that due to inadequate time for his attorney to prepare for sentencing, he was denied due process and effective assistance of counsel.
We find that the record in this case is sufficient to support both the finding of sanity at the time the offense was committed and the finding that McKinney was not incompetent by reason of insanity to stand trial and assist in his own defense. The insanity issue in this case is similar to that presented in the recently-decided case of Alto v. State, 565 P.2d 492 (Alaska, 1977). In Alto, we reversed a trial court's judgment of conviction because after evidence of insanity had been introduced, the state had failed to sustain its burden of proving sanity beyond a reasonable doubt. Here, however, we hold that there was an adequate basis for the trial court's judgment of conviction. Further, we hold that, as a matter of law, the insanity defense is not available to a defendant who is legally sane before voluntarily commencing drinking but loses control when intoxicated. Finally, we conclude that under the circumstances of this case, defendant was not denied due process at sentencing.
I. FACTS OF THE CASE
The attack occurred in the evening at the apartment of Curtis Harden. Present at that time were the defendant, Paul Hill (the victim and a security guard in Juneau), Marissa Osborne, Charlene Sumdum, Curtis Harden and Paul Hill's young child. McKinney had just been released from jail that morning, having served approximately three months on an earlier assault and battery charge and arrived at the apartment with Ms. Osborne.
Throughout the afternoon and evening, all those in Harden's apartment had been drinking. Although Harden stated that McKinney was not drunk, according to Sumdum, defendant had been drinking beer and liquor during the evening and was "drunk", "feeling pretty high." Ms. Osborne testified that she and McKinney had at least a few drinks before going to Harden's apartment, and Hill (the victim) stated that defendant had passed out earlier in the day.
At some point during the evening, all members of the group except McKinney left the apartment to buy liquor. The attack took place about forty-five minutes after they returned. No one in the group recalled seeing defendant obtain the knife used in the attack, but McKinney testified that he had obtained it without being noticed while the others were in the apartment. McKinney estimated that this occurred approximately twenty minutes before the attack. He further stated that he had the intention of stabbing Hill when he picked up the knife.
McKinney did not explain why he assaulted Hill. Of those in the apartment, only Harden was willing to suggest the reasons for the attack. He speculated that jealousy and hatred of "cops" motivated defendant to act as he did.
Before he had gone to jail, McKinney had been involved with Ms. Osborne. The nature of their relationship at the time of the assault, however, was unclear. Ms. Osborne stated that on the night of March 23, Harden and Hill (the victim) had been joking with McKinney about the fact that Ms. Osborne was McKinney's fiancee, but Ms. Osborne indicated that she did not think this was the nature of their relationship. McKinney's responses to the examining psychiatrists suggested that he did have some attachment to Ms. Osborne. He stated at trial he did not know whether or not he would have stabbed Hill if Ms. Osborne had come over to him when he called her.
Before going to the liquor store, Harden and Hill had a conversation with McKinney in the bathroom according to Ms. Osborne. At the preliminary hearing, Harden admitted that he and McKinney had been discussing a robbery or burglary. Ms. Osborne testified that McKinney told her "It's not worth going back to jail for" immediately after the bathroom conversation had occurred.
After the stabbing, Harden attempted to call a doctor for Hill (the victim), but was prevented by McKinney who told him, "No, you back off and not call and let that son of a bitch die."
McKinney was indicted on May 1, 1975. On May 8, the defendant filed a notice of intention to rely on an insanity defense. He was examined in Anchorage over a three-week period from July 1 to July 22 by Dr. Joseph Bloom. A concurrent psychological evaluation was prepared by Allen Parker, Ph.D.
Trial, limited solely to the issue of defendant's sanity, commenced on October 27, 1975. Counsel immediately moved for a second psychiatric examination to resolve some of the conflicts between the reports of Dr. Bloom and Dr. Parker. At the outset, defense counsel indicated no difficulty communicating with his client and expressed no doubts as to his competency. The trial court questioned McKinney and found him capable of understanding what was happening and competent to give up his rights. At the very end of the hearing, McKinney was also questioned by defense counsel. At least to counsel, McKinney's answers at that time appeared nonresponsive and contrary to information provided at the preliminary hearing.
Dr. J. Edward Olivier examined McKinney on November 1, 1975 in Juneau and indicated that he was unable to appreciate the charges against him and to cooperate with counsel.
On November 3, defendant moved for judicial determination of mental competency. Hearing was set for November 28.
With the exception of his trip to Anchorage, McKinney had been institutionalized at the state correctional center in Juneau. For two months before his trip to Anchorage for psychiatric evaluation and from his return until October 29, 1975, he had been held by himself in a "quiet cell," a cell with a single window at eye level, covered by a single steel flap which opened only from the outside. The flap was occasionally open for McKinney, but when it was, he could see only a wall.
Shortly before November 28, the trial court indicated that it was going to rule against defendant on the insanity defense. On November 28, it provided counsel with a memorandum of decision and a pre-sentence report dated November 25. Defendant had been unaware that sentencing would take place on November 28.
At the November 28 hearing, defense counsel informed the court that he was able to communicate with McKinney who appeared "much more rational today than when Dr. Olivier and I visited him on the first of the month." At this point, defense counsel advised the court that McKinney did not wish to proceed with the motion for determination of competency. Defense counsel was, however, prepared to submit the competency issue on the basis of Dr. Olivier's report alone.
To determine competency, on November 28, the court heard the testimony of Ramona Green, a psychologist with the Mental Health Clinic who had interviewed McKinney twice during the early part of November and found him to be in contact with reality and in progressively better spirits. At the hearing, the court independently questioned McKinney whose answers were brief, but logical and responsive. McKinney indicated that he was able to communicate with counsel and that regarding the sentencing, he "just want[ed] to get it over with."
The trial court found that, on October 27, McKinney was competent. McKinney was then found sane at the time of his actions and guilty on both counts. The court sentenced him to fifteen years on the charge of Stabbing with Intent to Kill, Wound or Maim. Pursuant to McKinney's instructions, defense counsel made no formal objections to sentencing. He did, however, allege one factual conflict between information in the pre-sentence report and testimony given by the defendant which concerned McKinney's ability to remember the events. He also indicated for the record that he would have objected to the determination of guilt, the determination of competency and to sentencing if his client had permitted.
II. COMPETENCE TO STAND TRIAL
AS 12.45.100(a) prohibits the trial, conviction and sentencing of a defendant who cannot assist in his own defense or understand the proceedings against him.
Not every mental illness, however, necessarily disables a defendant from functioning adequately in a criminal proceeding. In Schade v. State, 512 P.2d 907, 914 (Alaska 1973), we stated:
The determination is a relative one, and each case must be determined on its own facts. 512 P.2d at 914. This factual determination is delegated to the trial court which must weigh the credibility of all the evidence and witnesses before it. If the trial court applies the correct standards of law, our appellate role in reviewing its determination is limited. Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the state,
In this case, McKinney challenges the trial court's finding of competency based on three grounds. First, he claims that the trial court should have given greater weight to defense counsel's assessment of competence under our decision in Fajeriak v. State, 520 P.2d 795, 802-03 (Alaska 1974). Second, he argues that Dr. Olivier's report
We turn first to McKinney's contentions regarding his attorney's estimation of his competence. We have previously stated that defense counsel's assessment of competence should be accorded substantial weight. Fajeriak v. State, 520 P.2d 795, 802-03 (Alaska 1974). In Fajeriak, we noted that defense counsel is in a better position than either the district attorney or the court to make this judgment. In Fajeriak, the defense counsel indicated that his client was competent. Obviously, the same weight need not be given to a defense counsel's assertions of incompetence. An attorney's duty as an advocate will often require him to present those arguments on behalf of his client, and while his opinion is still relevant, it is not determinative. We did not suggest in Fajeriak that the opinion of the defense counsel is the only relevant consideration.
We next consider McKinney's claims regarding the Olivier report and his testimony of October 27. The Olivier report does support McKinney's claim. However, we must weigh its conclusions against all the evidence to determine if there is substantial evidence supporting the ruling below. The trial court based its finding that McKinney was competent on the testimony of Ms. Green as well as its own questioning and observation of the defendant.
Ms. Green did not specifically testify that McKinney was competent to stand trial. Instead, she provided a logical explanation of defendant's behavior on October 27 and between October 27 and November 28. She offered a chronological framework in which to assess Dr. Olivier's finding of incompetence, the reports of defendant's hallucinations, his lack of appetite and his testimony at the end of the October 27 hearing.
Ms. Green had spoken with McKinney twice in November. She indicated that she had been able to communicate with defendant on both occasions and that his spirits had improved on November 13 because he had been brought out of solitary confinement. Having spoken with McKinney briefly before the hearing, she found him on November 28 to be cognizant of his surroundings and in a state of mental well being. Ms. Green speculated that any deterioration in his mental state after October 27 was the combined result of the trauma of his court appearance and his isolation in jail.
Dr. Olivier's report might equally reflect a temporary disturbance which was occasioned by McKinney's awareness that he had just testified against himself. In any event, McKinney had returned to a state of "well being" at least by November 28. Even assuming that Dr. Olivier's report accurately reflects McKinney's competence on November 1, a temporary lapse of incompetence after the hearing, while relevant to consider, would not be conclusive of McKinney's competence on October 27.
A temporary psychosis, though serious, may not necessarily preclude competency, even where it involves loss of memory. In Fajeriak v. State, supra at 801, we considered whether episodes of vertigo or momentary unconsciousness during trial were sufficient to render a defendant mentally incompetent. Although acknowledging that partial amnesia would undeniably have impaired appellant's ability to assist in his defense, we concluded that amnesia, whether partial or total, was not an adequate ground for a finding of incompetency. Here, McKinney was able to recall the events surrounding the crime at a time which gave counsel opportunity to prepare for trial. There is no allegation or indication of memory loss or inconsistency other than the arguably ambiguous inferences to be derived from McKinney's responses at the close of the October 27 hearing.
Considering all of the evidence presented below, we conclude that there is substantial evidence supporting the ruling that McKinney was competent. If we were the triers of fact, we might not have come to the same conclusion, and we note that there is substantial evidence in this case which would also support a finding of incompetency. Under these circumstances, we will not substitute our judgment for that of the trial court.
Finally, we must reject McKinney's third argument that his attitude at sentencing mandates a finding of incompetency.
McKinney's short, terse answers to questions posed by the trial court at sentencing were responsive and logical. They do, however, like McKinney's instructions to counsel, reflect a desire to conclude the proceedings as quickly as possible, without regard to the possible merit of any objections or motions which might be raised. Particularly in light of Ms. Green's analysis, however, this attitude toward sentencing and McKinney's unwillingness to follow the advice of counsel do not unequivocally exemplify an inability to understand the seriousness of the proceedings or to communicate with his attorney. Considering all the evidence, the trial court could have found McKinney's response to be an honest recognition that, regardless of the success of any motions, he would be institutionalized for some time. The judge could have concluded that, after a month's consideration, at a time when his spirits were improving, McKinney simply decided to dispense with any delay. Although McKinney's decisions may reflect an unwise choice not to aid in his defense, the fact that McKinney chooses not to assist in his defense does not mean he is incapable of doing so. As one of the examining psychiatrists in Schade made clear, such a conclusion is not psychologically sound,
Under Alaska's insanity defense statute, AS 12.45.083,
Ordinarily, our standard for review of findings by a trial judge is the substantial evidence test. The finding below must be affirmed if it is supported by "such relevant evidence which is adequate to support a conclusion by a reasonable mind that there was no reasonable doubt as to appellant's guilt." All inferences are to be resolved in the light most favorable to the state.
McKinney argues that the substantial evidence test is not entirely applicable to the insanity question in this case and urges us to assess the documentary evidence in the record independently. We disagree with this contention. McKinney did testify in this case, and evaluation of his demeanor and responses may have been significant to the trial court's conclusions. Thus, the primary reason for giving deference to the trial court's findings applies here.
Although the evidence in this case is equivocal, we hold that there was substantial evidence to support the trial court's finding of sanity.
Our conclusion that there is substantial evidence is supported by the report of Dr. Bloom which indicates a plausible jealousy motive. Dr. Bloom concluded that the series of events leading to the stabbing involved McKinney's impression that Hill was somehow becoming involved with his "girlfriend." These events might have included the fact that Ms. Osborne was sitting with her legs on Hill's lap, that she failed to come to him when asked and that Harden and Hill had been joking about his relationship with her. At trial, McKinney testified that he did not know if he would have attacked Hill if Ms. Osborne had come over to him. Furthermore, since the evidence was conflicting, the trial court could have concluded that Mr. McKinney obtained the knife after Ms. Osborne failed to respond to his call. We find this evidence sufficient to support the conclusion that McKinney acted out of jealousy.
Particularly if viewed in connection with the undisputed facts that McKinney planned and calculated the attack and ultimately stabbed Hill twice, existence of motive suggests that McKinney acted with a certain degree of logical consistency. This inference supports a finding that McKinney was able to control his actions.
There is additional evidence in the record which would permit a conclusion that McKinney had the capacity to appreciate the wrongfulness and consequences of criminal conduct. Shortly before the commission of this very offense, McKinney apparently discussed participating in a burglary, and concluded "it's not worth going to jail for."
Further support for the trial court comes from Dr. Bloom's psychiatric report. As indicated above, the psychiatric evidence in this case is conflicting.
IV. VOLUNTARY INTOXICATION
The Alaska insanity defense statute, AS 12.45.083, is modelled on the American Law Institute's substantial capacity test.
We have not previously had the opportunity to address the issue of voluntary intoxication in the context of the current insanity statute. We did discuss the interrelationship between intoxication and the insanity defense in McIntyre v. State, 379 P.2d 615, 616-17 (Alaska 1963), a case decided under a version of the M'Naghten standard for insanity.
This approach is consistent with more recent decisions from other jurisdictions which have attempted to distinguish between those who lose control solely as a result of a particular alcoholic bout and those for whom alcohol related or induced insanity is a pre-existing condition. Where the freedom of choice in taking the first drink is not at issue,
Where pathological intoxication is not at issue, the rule of the American Law Institute in Section 2.08 of the Model Penal Code is similar. Essentially, the Code provides that only intoxication which is not self-induced or which is pathological may be considered in determining sanity.
We believe that a rule which renders the insanity defense unavailable to those who are legally sane and capable of controlling their drinking before becoming intoxicated is mandated by the purposes and philosophy behind our statutes. Society gains little from punishing a defendant who substantially lacks the capacity to control or appreciate the nature of his conduct. For such individuals, the goals of sentencing — rehabilitation and deterrence — have no meaning. On the other hand, where an individual has knowledge of the adverse effects of his drinking and can choose whether or not to drink, society can legitimately expect him to conform his conduct to its demands.
V. DUE PROCESS AND EFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF COUNSEL
McKinney claims that his due process rights were violated because counsel was given inadequate time to prepare for sentencing. The pre-sentence report was not provided to defense counsel before the morning of November 28, and counsel lacked prior notice that sentencing would occur at that time. At sentencing, McKinney requested that no motions be made and that he wanted the hearing concluded as quickly as possible. Defense counsel followed these instructions and did not request a continuance. McKinney now argues that the court should have granted a continuance sua sponte.
Sentencing is a critical stage of the proceedings against a criminal defendant. Egelak v. State, 438 P.2d 712, 715 (Alaska 1968). A defendant, therefore, has the constitutional right to effective assistance of counsel,
In all cases where competency is at issue, we urge the trial courts to grant adequate time to prepare for sentencing, or a continuance sua sponte if it appears that counsel cannot fulfill these responsibilities without additional time. In such cases, the defense attorney may find himself in a dilemma: his obligation to his client requires that he follow instructions, while the ultimate interests of a defendant who may be found incompetent may require that he act contrary to those instructions. With adequate time, defense counsel can point out problems with the pre-sentence report and present dispositional alternatives which will foster the rehabilitation of a defendant.
Nevertheless, we do not find a violation of due process in this case. Had McKinney demonstrated any genuine prejudice resulting from the failure of the trial court to grant a continuance sua sponte, a remand for resentencing might be proper.
However, he indicated that Hill was not wearing his uniform at the time and further stated:
See also People v. Kelly, 10 Cal.3d 565, 111 Cal.Rptr. 171, 516 P.2d 875 (1973) (perpetrator of multiple stabbings found insane). We must view the evidence as a whole. See Oxenberg v. State, 362 P.2d 893, 897 (Alaska 1961), where we noted, within the context of determining if "corroboration" existed, that although each item of evidence considered individually was consistent with Oxenberg's innocence, review of the evidence together indicated "a rational tendency to associate Oxenberg with the commission of the offense."
For Dr. Bloom, McKinney was "diagnostically quite puzzling." Dr. Bloom noted that defendant had a history of "severe character pathology of an explosive and schizoid nature" and also pointed to McKinney's "alcohol proneness and violent acting out when he does drink." Defendant himself recognized that drinking led to many of his problems. Dr. Bloom stated:
Although apparently referring to Dr. Parker's finding of organic brain damage by testing, he indicated that "[t]here was no gross indication in the clinical interview of any organic brain pathology."
We agree with McKinney that a legal determination should not be put in the hands of psychiatrists. See Pope v. State, 478 P.2d 801, 810-11 (Alaska 1970) (Connor, J., dissenting). Nevertheless, we do not find that in this instance Dr. Bloom has usurped the judicial function. Dr. Bloom's statement of his understanding of the insanity test simply indicates the focus of his psychiatric inquiry and the parameters of his conclusions. It makes it clear that Dr. Bloom's conclusions regarding McKinney's mental state are based solely on an assessment of his capabilities when sober. In our opinion, Dr. Bloom's statement merely indicates that he did not consider the fact that voluntary intoxication may lessen McKinney's abilities to control his aggressive impulses as a basis of his finding of sanity. McKinney's arguments that intoxication should have been considered in connection with the insanity defense is discussed in the next section of our opinion.
The defense of diminished capacity was not raised in this case, and we do not consider this issue here.
Section 2.08. Intoxication.
We did reverse without a specific showing of prejudice in Doe v. State, 487 P.2d 47, 57 (Alaska 1971). Prejudice was presumed from the fact that counsel was given only four days (this included a weekend) in which to prepare for trial. Doe is distinguishable from the present case, however. First, it involves preparation for trial rather than for sentencing. Although we recognize that sentencing may well be the most important part of the entire criminal proceeding, we note that the task of marshalling defenses and witnesses for trial may demand more time than is required to prepare for sentencing. United States v. Pinkney, supra. Also, the record in Doe showed that counsel had other cases to prepare during the four-day period.