Louis County District Court File No. 69VI-CR-15-262
Swanson, Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota; and Mark
Rubin, St. Louis County Attorney, Karl G. Sundquist,
Assistant County Attorney, Virginia, Minnesota (for
Cathryn Middlebrook, Chief Appellate Public Defender, Michael
McLaughlin, Assistant Public Defender, St. Paul, Minnesota
Considered and decided by Connolly, Presiding Judge;
Schellhas, Judge; and Stauber, Judge. [*]
district court determines competency under Minn. R. Crim. P.
20.01, subd. 5(f), based on the greater weight of the
evidence without regard to burden of proof.
challenges his conviction of fourth-degree criminal sexual
conduct, arguing that the district court erred in determining
that he was competent to participate in the proceedings
because the court erroneously shifted the burden of proof
from respondent to appellant. We affirm.
March 2015, respondent State of Minnesota charged appellant
Edwin Curtis with fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct. The
complaint alleged that Curtis touched an incapacitated woman
on her breasts and genitals over her clothing at the St.
Louis County Detox Center. Curtis moved for a competency
examination under Minn. R. Crim. P. 20.01, and a mental
examination under Minn. R. Crim. P. 20.02. The district court
ordered simultaneous examinations of Curtis under Minn. R.
Crim. P. 20.04. The court also ordered that Curtis be
examined by Dr. Craig Stevens, who had examined Curtis in
2008 and 2012.
his examination of Curtis, Dr. Stevens reported that Curtis
"suffer[s] from a significant mental illness
(schizoaffective disorder), " but that he "seems to
be using that disorder through exaggeration to try to escape
consequences for his alleged misdeeds." Dr. Stevens also
reported that because of Curtis's "proclivity to
exaggerate his condition it is unfortunately not possible to
determine his capacity at this time." Dr. Stevens
determined that "[s]ince, as this examiner understands
it, an individual is viewed by the court as competent unless
demonstrated to be otherwise, the only outcome from the
present evaluation is that . . . Curtis has not demonstrated
incompetence and thus may by default have to proceed at trial
as a competent defendant."
2015, the district court conducted a contested competency
hearing at which Dr. Stevens testified. The court found that
"as a result of [his] examination, Dr. Stevens stated
that he believes the Court should find [Curtis] to be
competent as there is no evidence . . . [Curtis] is
incompetent." The court determined that "the
greater weight of the evidence indicates [Curtis] is
November 2015, Dr. Gerald Henkel-Johnson examined Curtis. Dr.
Henkel-Johnson reported that Curtis "does appear to have
adequate understanding of the charges and proceedings against
him, " but Curtis's "deficits in concentration
and communication skills to assist his attorney or otherwise
adequately participate in his defense are concerning."
Dr. Henkel-Johnson initially found Curtis to be competent,
but later supplemented his report with an addendum, stating
that Curtis's difficulty in answering
"open-ended" questions "may result in
compromising [his] ability to assist in his defense."
Dr. Henkel-Johnson determined that "[s]hould
this be the case, then [Curtis] indeed is not
competent to stand trial." (Emphasis added.)
on Dr. Henkel-Johnson's report, Curtis moved for an order
finding him incompetent under rule 20.01. The district court
found that the results of the tests administered to Curtis by
Dr. Henkel-Johnson "are indicative of a person
attempting to produce a false result." The court
concluded that despite Dr. Henkel-Johnson's belief that
Curtis may be incompetent to ...