Attorney: York competent to stand trial
York's attorneys file
motion asking judge to rescind order
Macon Telegraph/July 17, 2003
By Rob Peecher
Two days after a
federal judge ordered confessed child molester Malachi York to
undergo a psychiatric evaluation, his attorneys filed a motion
asking the judge to rescind that order.
The motion filed
Wednesday seeks to assure the judge that York, the leader of the
cult-like group the United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors, is competent
to stand trial, willing to cooperate with his attorneys and does
not want the psychiatric evaluation. Frank Rubino, the newest
member of York's defense team, filed the motion.
"This attorney spent
approximately two hours with Mr. York, and at all times Mr. York
was coherent, logical, helpful and eager to aid in the preparation
of his case," Rubino wrote in the motion. "It was clear that Mr.
York could appreciate the nature and consequences of the
proceedings against him."
U.S. District Judge
Hugh Lawson ordered Monday that York be transferred to the custody
of the federal Bureau of Prisons to be evaluated to determine his
competency to stand trial. The order was based on a motion filed
by York's lawyers Ed Garland and Manny Arora and on the results of
a brief psychiatric evaluation conducted earlier this month.
York pleaded guilty in
January to state and federal charges of child molestation.
According to an
agreement between prosecutors and York's attorneys, York was to
serve 15 years in prison. But Lawson rejected the plea agreement
and said he would sentence York to at least 20 years.
In June, York told
Lawson during a hearing that he is an American Indian and
sovereign, and therefore not subject to federal law. He also
argued audibly with his attorneys. It was during that hearing that
Garland and Arora asked for the competency evaluation. Rubino was
not yet representing York at that time.
Rubino said Wednesday
that York is now cooperating, and the defense no longer thinks
there is a need for a psychiatric evaluation.
"The client has now
come around. He's being helpful, he appears lucid, he appears
fine," Rubino said. "He was not cooperating. He was basically
stonewalling (his attorneys), but now he's come around, and it has
become a moot issue as far as we're concerned."
Rubino said his
involvement in the case might have been what made York decide to
start cooperating with his attorneys because "sometimes it takes a
fresh face to stimulate the client and get things back on track."
As of Wednesday, no
hearing had been scheduled on the new motion, though Lawson could
rule on it without a hearing, Rubino said.
York has yet to decide
whether to withdraw his guilty plea to federal charges of
transporting minors across state lines for the purpose of having
sex with them and attempting to evade federal financial reporting
requirements. He also has not withdrawn a guilty plea to 77 state
counts of child molestation.