Lee Leeds will the Santa Barbara District Attorneys office be able to get a murder conviction?

I have been working hard these last few years attempting many things through my writing that I share on my blogs. During that time I have covered a wide variety of topics. They ranged from abuse in both the Criminal and Civil courts to dealing with our county’s property tax billing accountability or the lack of as in the case of former California Lt. Governor Abel Maldonado. You might find this hard to believe but for every published posting or email you receive that number merely represents about 50% of everything I work on. My concerns with property’s listed on than California Lt. Governor Abel Maldonado s form 700 disclosure sat for almost six months before I published anything. As we speak my follow up report with additional data further verifying billing discrepancies has been ready for months now. I am fortunate though that some of my subject matter seems to stay current even when three years old, this weekends posting is a perfect example of that. You see in Santa Barbara County highly publicized cases or situation are used far longer than necessary in the media to unfairly form public perception.

So just what is it that I am attempting with my writing? Take this weekend for example, my postings topics will be about:

1-     Lee Leeds a three year old murder case with mental health issues.

2-     Pension Fund Math discrepancies from a 2000 CAFR report.

3-     Corey Lyons double murder trial which was brought about because of all the hits my previous blog postings receive.

I feel we all need to recognize how everything is inter- connected and I hope to show an example of that by the third posting. At first or second glance you might not see how all three could be important to each other and you but they are. I know my writing is not Pulitzer Prize worthy but if I help create new or impact your existing thought than I will consider that to be a success.

Lee Leeds, 34, faces murder charges stemming from a March 18, 2008 shooting spree at Black Road Auto in Santa Maria that killed four men: Dave Duboise, Ricardo Leal, Terry Majan and Robert Leeds. Robert Leeds, father of the accused, owned the salvage yard where the killings happened. Leeds suffers from paranoid schizophrenia. Now I have been following this case since the beginning.

I have never felt that Mr. Leeds could be tried in criminal court based on the facts presented in the media. You can see were the courts have repeatedly dealt with the mental competency of Mr. Leeds for the past 3 years. Finding Mr. Leeds as competent to stand trial is a misleading one. I say that because there is a second factor to consider in cases where mental health is an issue; can the defendant be held criminal responsibility for his actions?

Competency to stand trial hinges on a defendant’s current mental state at the time of trial. It is generally a low-level standard that requires merely that a defendant understands the proceedings against him — that he is being tried for a crime and the relative roles of prosecutor, defense attorney, and judge — and be able to assist his attorney in his defense. Can the defendant be held criminal responsible for his acts the day of his acts is a whole other issue and I feel that question s is far more relevant to any effort to obtain a conviction?

Please remember there is a duel responsibility our District Attorney faces in every case that they prosecute. To protect both the victims and defendants Constitutional rights with the equal effort. I am not a lawyer and dumb as a rock but I feel the District Attorney would not be able to hold Mr. Leeds criminally responsible in part based on the early actions taken by both them and the courts and what those actions represent to me. Further more based on my simple questions below I can see were a jury would repeatedly be presented facts that would consistently result in creating reasonable doubt.

. In this next part of my posting I have taken statements and facts from the media and inserted my concerns, questions, or challenges to them. I hope you can find some importance from all this. Please review all this as if you were a juror and what conclusion would you come up with.

 

Leeds suffers from paranoid schizophrenia

This is a known fact prior to the murders, it was also documented he had been under medication but had stopped taken his medication for one week. Furthermore based on his statements at the time of the crime he was delusional and based his actions in part on those delusional beliefs.

In December 2008, Superior Court Judge James Rigali ruled that Leeds was not competent to stand trial, and ordered that he be sent to Patton.

This action shows that the court has found Mr. Leeds to be gravely disabled persons and possibly classified 5270 as per the W&I code. Mr. Leeds placement in Patton Mental Health Facility raises several questions. Was his illness such that our County Facility was unable to treat him, or was placement based on both the treatment needed and time needed to administer that treatment. Based on this move by the courts Mr. Leeds could be eligible to receive social security benefits since he would be considered disabled by there standards. Was there a competency report created by our county facility prior to his placement at the Patton facility? If so had that report also dealt with the criminal responsibility issue?

In June 2010, Bullard presided over a multiday hearing to help decide whether Leeds could adequately assist his attorneys in his legal representation. At the conclusion of the hearing, Bullard said that he could not find Leeds competent to stand trial at that time, and ordered that he stay at Patton and doctors there reevaluate him.”

Over the course of 3 years had his attorney, the prosecutor or judges every established if he had indeed been found criminally reasonable for his actions? If not why?

The criminal case against Leeds had been suspended since April 2008, when Ikola said that his client appeared to be so mentally ill he was incapable of understanding the charges against him.

This action shows that the District Attorney as well as the court has found Mr. Leeds to be gravely disabled persons and possibly classified 5270 as per the W&I code. Mr. Leeds placement in Patton Mental Health Facility again raises more issues than just being competent to assist in his trial. Is it possible the defendants depth of mental illness also makes him incapable of being criminally reasonable for his actions as well?

 

I spent 1 hour this morning to create this position and challenge whether or not Mr. Leeds could ever be put on trial in a criminal court for his past actions.

 

In closing if I had not presented my challenge of criminal responsibility we all could have accepted his conviction as just. The real question is will the D.A., Judge or his Attorney properly defend him?

Further down this posting I have some court criteria that I feel applies to this case as well as some random media stories from the last three years

COMPETENCY TO STAND TRIAL

• What’s the difference between competency to stand trial and the insanity defense?

Competency to stand trial hinges on a defendant’s current mental state at the time of trial. It is generally a low-level standard that requires merely that a defendant understands the proceedings against him — that he is being tried for a crime and the relative roles of prosecutor, defense attorney, and judge — and be able to assist his attorney in his defense. The low standard reflects the attempt to provide as many people as possible a day in court, while excluding those individuals who are so sick as to be completely unable to comprehend the proceedings or to assist their attorneys. There is a common misperception that if an individual is found incompetent, it is the same as being found not guilty. In reality, if the defendant is deemed incompetent, there is no trial, and no conviction or acquittal.

The insanity defense has nothing to do with a defendant’s current mental status; to be found not guilty by reason of insanity, a judge or jury must evaluate the defendant’s state of mind at the time of the offense.

 

Media Story’s

 

http://www.santamariatimes.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/article_e674b57a-5123-11e0-88a7-001cc4c03286.html

HomeNewsLocalCrime And Courts

Man found competent to stand trial

By Samantha Yale Scroggin/Staff Writer sscroggin@santamariatimes.com | Posted: Thursday, March 17, 2011 10:51 pm | (1) Comments

A Santa Maria man accused of killing his father and three others three years ago at a Santa Maria salvage yard has been found mentally competent to stand trial by doctors at the state mental health facility that has been housing him.

Lee Leeds, 34, was not present for a hearing in his case Thursday in Santa Maria before Superior Court Judge Edward Bullard to check on the progress of a report that recently arrived from Patton State Hospital.

Because Leeds had not yet arrived from Patton, the hearing was continued to next Thursday.

The report states that Leeds is competent for trial, according to Senior Deputy District Attorney Kevin Duffy, the case prosecutor.

However, a competency trial must be held in which a judge will hear from witnesses and decide whether Leeds is indeed able to appropriately assist his attorney in a jury trial.

A date for the competency trial might be scheduled at next week’s hearing.

Duffy said it’s the District Attorney’s Office’s position that Leeds is ready to stand jury trial.

He said he wants the competency trial to take place in the near future so the case can move forward and justice can be obtained for the victims’ families.

“I think it’s in our best interest to have the trial as soon as possible,” he added.

When Leeds arrives in Santa Barbara County for his hearing next week, he will be housed in County Jail pending the outcome of the competency trial, Duffy said.

Defense attorneys on the case could not be reached for comment.

Leeds, who suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, faces murder charges stemming from a shooting spree March 18, 2008, at Black Road Auto in Santa Maria that killed Dave Duboise, Ricardo Leal, Terry Majan and Robert Leeds.

Robert Leeds, father of the accused, owned the salvage yard where the killings occurred. Duboise and Majan were employees of Black Road Auto, and Leal was a customer. It was Duboise’s first day of work at the site when he was killed, Santa Maria police have said.

In December 2008, Superior Court Judge James Rigali ruled that Leeds was not competent to stand trial, and ordered that he be sent to Patton. In March 2010, Patton released documents to the court indicating that doctors at the hospital had found Leeds competent to stand trial.

In June, Bullard presided over a multiday hearing to help decide whether Leeds could adequately assist his attorneys in his legal representation. At the conclusion of the hearing, Bullard said that he could not find Leeds competent to stand trial at that time, and ordered that he stay at Patton and doctors there reevaluate him.

Before issuing his decision, Bullard said that he believed there was “no question” that Leeds was competent at the time Patton doctors found him so, but noted that they had not evaluated Leeds since before he was discharged from the hospital in March 2010.

Copyright 2011 Santa Maria Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Posted in Crime-and-courts on Thursday, March 17, 2011 10:51 pm

HomeNewsLocal

Defense grills psychiatrist who treated Leeds.

By Samantha Yale Scroggin Staff Writer sscroggin@santamariatimes.com Tuesday, June 22, 2010 12:38 pm | (0) Comments

Lee Leeds, accused of a 2008 quadruple murder at a Santa Maria auto yard, walks into court Tuesday as a bailiff watches. //Mark Brown/Staff

A psychiatrist who treated a Santa Maria man accused of killing his father and three others in a salvage yard shooting testified Monday that while Lee Leeds is mentally competent to stand trial, he barely met requirements.

Leeds suffers from paranoid schizophrenia.

Dr. Jeffrey Lawler was grilled on the witness stand by Leeds’ defense attorney, Senior Deputy Public Defender Robert Ikola, who is representing the defendant along with Deputy Public Defender Brian Carroll.

Leeds, 34, faces murder charges stemming from a shooting spree March 18, 2008, at Black Road Auto in Santa Maria that killed four men: Dave Duboise, Ricardo Leal, Terry Majan and Robert Leeds. Robert Leeds, father of the accused, owned the salvage yard where the killings happened.

Lawler, a staff psychiatrist at Patton State Hospital, a mental-health treatment facility in San Bernardino County, initially was called as a witness by the prosecution June 8 during the second day of a hearing in the Leeds case. The hearing was set to help the court determine whether Leeds is in an appropriate mental state to understand legal proceedings.

The hearing resumed Monday before Superior Court Judge Edward Bullard in Santa Maria, at which time the defense cross-examined Lawler.

During the multiday hearing, attorneys have called witnesses to back the defense’s contention that Leeds is not mentally competent to stand trial and the prosecution’s position that Leeds is able to move forward with the legal proceedings.

Lawler testified Monday that while Leeds is not free from psychotic symptoms, he has demonstrated a lessening in the severity of his symptoms.

Following Lawler came testimony for the prosecution from a clinical psychologist at Patton who had discussions with Leeds to determine whether he is able to undergo trial.

Dr. Elsie Cheng said that at the time of Leeds’ discharge from Patton in March, she believed he was competent for trial.

The defense attorneys did not finish their cross-examination of Cheng Monday, and are expected to finish questioning her this morning. Cheng is the last witness for either side.

The criminal case against Leeds had been suspended since April 2008, when Ikola said that his client appeared to be so mentally ill he was incapable of understanding the charges against him.

In December 2008, a judge ruled that Leeds was not competent to stand trial and ordered that he be sent to Patton.

Leeds is back in County Jail without the option of bail after documents arrived in March from Patton stating that he is mentally competent. The competency hearing is being held despite the hospital’s finding, and the court will presumably make a finding as to Leeds’ competency based on the evidence.

Lawler testified last week under questioning by senior deputy district attorneys Lynn Cutler and Kevin Duffy that he believes Leeds is competent to stand trial, and that the patient was able to carry on a rational conversation and make logical decisions.

On Monday, Lawler testified under inquiries from Ikola that Leeds’ condition can change from day to day.

He suffered from delusions while in Lawler’s care, including that laser beams were damaging his eyes.

However, Leeds stuck with his treatment program, according to Lawler.

“He understands that there were individuals killed, one of them being his father, and that he was there found with a gun.”

Cheng testified Monday that she believes Leeds has the ability to assist his attorneys in court.

“I felt that he interacted very well with me,” she said, noting that Leeds was cooperative though slow to respond to questions.

Leeds was in a dating relationship with a woman being treated at Patton, according to Cheng.

“He was not the most verbal with that, but he did admit to it,” she said.

While practicing testifying, Leeds did better than the average Patton patient, Cheng said.

http://www.santamariatimes.com/news/local/article_e0b3e610-7e4c-11df-bd5f-001cc4c002e0.html

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About magicinsantabarbara

Our Santa Barbara Criminal and Civil Superior Courts often abuse’s us with illegal and unjust judgments and convictions. So I investigate, law enforcement, judge’s, elected officials and our California Public Pensions trying to expose the corruption we are being forced to accept. We must always respect and support those who practice the law in an even and ethical manner and demand it from those who do not. Here you can find data for SBCERS, VECRA, LACERA .pensions as well as others.
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