Some clouds
37°
Some clouds
Hi 38° | Lo 24°

Competency questioned in Concord graffiti case

  • Vandals penned racist graffiti on the homes of three African refugee families in the South End of Concord, including at the Perley Street home of a Somali Bantu family on September 18, 2011. <br/><br/>(Alexander Cohn/ Monitor file)

    Vandals penned racist graffiti on the homes of three African refugee families in the South End of Concord, including at the Perley Street home of a Somali Bantu family on September 18, 2011.

    (Alexander Cohn/ Monitor file)

  • Vandals penned racist graffiti on the homes of three African refugee families in the South End of Concord, including the house of a Congolese refugee living on Downing Street, shown here in a file photo from  September 2011.<br/><br/><br/>(Alexander Cohn/ Monitor file)

    Vandals penned racist graffiti on the homes of three African refugee families in the South End of Concord, including the house of a Congolese refugee living on Downing Street, shown here in a file photo from September 2011.


    (Alexander Cohn/ Monitor file)

  • Vandals penned racist graffiti on the homes of three African refugee families in the South End of Concord, including at the Perley Street home of a Somali Bantu family on September 18, 2011. <br/><br/>(Alexander Cohn/ Monitor file)
  • Vandals penned racist graffiti on the homes of three African refugee families in the South End of Concord, including the house of a Congolese refugee living on Downing Street, shown here in a file photo from  September 2011.<br/><br/><br/>(Alexander Cohn/ Monitor file)
Raymond Stevens, 42, of Pembroke.

Raymond Stevens, 42, of Pembroke.

The defense attorney for a 43-year-old tattoo artist accused of defacing refugee family homes in Concord’s South End is questioning her client’s ability to stand trial, months after he shot himself in the head.

A competency hearing for Raymond Stevens of Pembroke is set for next Wednesday in Merrimack County Superior Court. Melinda Siranian, Stevens’s public defender, has asked Judge Larry Smukler to delay that hearing by 45 days, however, to allow her time to gather medical documents for a pending psychological evaluation.

In a court motion filed earlier this year, Siranian wrote that Stevens had suffered “a traumatic brain injury, resulting in his experiencing ongoing seizures, memory loss, and other issues regarding retention of information.”

A state psychologist began evaluating Stevens on April 9, according to a court document. Jury selection for Stevens’s trial is scheduled in mid-June.

Stevens pleaded not guilty in October to a felony criminal mischief charge that carries a 10- to 30-year prison sentence because it’s considered a hate crime. He had been out on bail Nov. 7 – his birthday – when emergency officials found him in a Hopkinton cemetery near death from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was released from Massachusetts General Hospital later that month and has been serving home confinement with his wife’s family in Andover, according to a court document.

Buzz Scherr, a professor at the University of New Hampshire School of Law, said incompetence arguments are typically granted only when a defendant’s cognitive abilities are degraded to the point he or she can no longer make decisions.

“The idea is, as a society, it’s just wrong to take people through the justice system when they don’t have a clue about what’s going on,” Scherr said.

Sometimes, he said, a court will delay a trial if it’s thought that medication could repair enough cognitive functions.

(Jeremy Blackman can be reached at 369-3319, jblackman@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @JBlackmanCM.)

Legacy Comments2

Oh sure . . . let the racist get off on the old "incompetent to stand trial" defense.

Whoah! Please tell me you just doubt he’s really incapacitated, right? Do you really think it’s right to make someone with a drooling mental incapacity defend themselves in a criminal trial? (That would put you well to the right of Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Adolph Hitler.)

Post a Comment

You must be registered to comment on stories. Click here to register.