Sanity Board Request

  1. bestmilitarydefenseucmjdefenselawyer242Who can request? Any commander, investigating officer, trial counsel, defense counsel, military judge, or member. R.C.M. 706(a).
    1. Request goes to CA (before referral) and MJ (after referral).
    2. A sanity board should be granted if request is not frivolous and is made in good faith. United States v. Nix , 36 C.M.R. 76, 80-81 (C.M.A. 1965); United States v. Kish , 20 M.J. 652 (A.C.M.R. 1985).
    3. It may be prudent for trial counsel to join in the motion. See United States v. James , 47 M.J. 641 (A. Ct. Crim. App. 1997) (finding that a mental status evaluation was not an adequate substitute for a sanity board).
  2. Failure to direct a sanity inquiry.
    1. Though ultimate result may be “favorable” to the government, failure to timely direct a sanity board can result in lengthy appellate review. United States v. Breese , 47 M.J. 5 (C.A.A.F. 1997).
    2. “ .” United States v. Pattin , 50 M.J. 637, 639 (A. Ct. Crim. App. 1999) (finding that the military judge’s refusal to order a sanity board was not error where it appeared the motion for a sanity board was merely a frivolous attempt to get a trial delay).
  3. Sanity Board Order asks the following questions:
    1. At the time of the alleged criminal conduct, did the accused have a severe mental disease or defect?
    2. What is the clinical psychiatric diagnosis?
    3. Was the accused, at the time of the alleged criminal conduct and as a result of such severe mental disease or defect, unable to appreciate the nature and quality or wrongfulness of his conduct?
    4. Does the accused have sufficient mental capacity to understand the nature of the proceedings and to conduct or cooperate intelligently in the defense?
  4. Composition of the sanity board.
    1. One or more persons.
    2. Physician or clinical psychologist.
    3. At least one psychiatrist or clinical psychologist.
    4. A provisional license may be enough to qualify a psychologist as a clinical psychologist. United States v. Boasmond , 48 M.J. 912 (N-M. Ct. Crim. App. 1998).
  5. Conflict of interest. United States v. Best , 61 M.J. 376 (C.A.A.F. 2005). Twomembers of the accused’s RCM 706 sanity board had a preexisting psychotherapist- patient relationship with the accused. In a case of first impression, the Army court stated that an actual conflict of interest would exist when prior participation that materially limits his or her ability to objectively participate in and evaluate the subject of an RCM 706 sanity board. The CAAF declined to adopt a presumptive rule that there would be an actual conflict of interest if a mental health provider, who has established a psychotherapist-patient relationship with an accused, also serves as a member in an RCM 706 sanity board. In this case, the CAAF held there was no evidence suggesting that the two members’ participation would be materially limited by their prior relationship.
  6. The accused’s right to a speedy trial is not violated when the government delays thecase for a time reasonably necessary to complete a thorough mental evaluation. United States v. Colon-Angueira , 16 M.J. 20 (C.M.A. 1983) (fifty-one days reasonable); United States v. Carpenter , 37 M.J. 291 (C.M.A. 1993) (the government’s negligence or bad faith can be considered in determining whether the sanity board was completed within a reasonable time); United States v. Pettaway , 24 M.J. 589 (N.M.C.M.R. 1987) (thirty-six days was reasonable time for a second sanity board); United States. v. Arab , 55 M.J. 508 (A. Ct. Crim. App. 2001) (140 days was not unreasonable, where the record reflected due diligence by the government).
  7. Results of board – limited distribution.
    1. Defense counsel gets full report.
    2. Trial counsel initially only gets answers to the above questions.

Sanity Board Order asks the following questions:

Composition of the sanity board.