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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.

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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