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United States v. Callahan

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

July 13, 2015

United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee
v.
Christon Colson Callahan, Defendant - Appellant

Submitted March 13, 2015.

Appeal from United States District Court for the District of Minnesota - St. Paul.

For United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee: Ann M. Bildtsen, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Andrew Dunne, Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, District of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN.

Christon Colson Callahan, Defendant - Appellant, Pro se, Terre Haute, IN.

For Christon Colson Callahan, Defendant - Appellant: Jennifer Marie Macaulay, MACAULAY LAW OFFICES, Saint Paul, MN.

Before WOLLMAN and COLLOTON, Circuit Judges, and WHITE,[1] District Judge.

OPINION

Page 423

WOLLMAN, Circuit Judge.

Christon Colson Callahan appeals the term of imprisonment imposed upon him, arguing that the district court[2] should have provisionally sentenced him to commitment to a secure medical facility and that the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) should have credited toward his current sentence the days he spent in pretrial custody. We affirm.

In early 2011, Callahan was living at a halfway house and completing a federal sentence for bank robbery. On February 26, 2011, Callahan removed his GPS ankle bracelet and absconded from the halfway house. Two days later, he helped his former cellmate rob a bank. Callahan was charged with one count of aiding and abetting bank robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § § 2113(a) and 2, and one count of escape from custody, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § § 751(a) and 4082(a). The district court found Callahan competent to stand trial. Callahan eventually pleaded guilty to both counts and thereafter requested a hearing to determine his present mental condition.

The procedure a district court must follow to determine whether to hospitalize a convicted person suffering from a mental disease or defect is set forth in 18 U.S.C. § 4244. Section 4244(a) requires the district court to hold a hearing on the defendant's present mental condition if the district court " is of the opinion that there is reasonable cause to believe that the defendant may presently be suffering from a mental disease or defect for the treatment of which he is in need of custody for care or treatment in a suitable facility." If a hearing is required, the court may then " order that a psychiatric or psychological examination of the defendant be conducted, and that a psychiatric or psychological report be filed with the court." Id. § 4244(b). At the hearing, the defendant is entitled to counsel and is afforded an opportunity to testify, present evidence, subpoena witnesses, and confront and cross-examine witnesses. Id. § § 4244(c), 4247(d). Thereafter, if the court determines that " the defendant is presently suffering from a mental disease or defect and that he should, in lieu of being sentenced to imprisonment, be committed to a suitable facility for care or treatment," the court must commit the defendant to the custody of the Attorney General for placement in a suitable facility under a provisional sentence of imprisonment. Id. § 4244(d).

Page 424

The district court granted Callahan's motion for a hearing to determine his present mental condition. Callahan retained licensed psychologist Seymour Gross, Ph.D., to complete a psychological examination and report. Dr. Gross diagnosed Callahan with dysthymic disorder; alcohol and synthetic marijuana abuse, both of which were in remission in a controlled setting; and personality disorder with borderline and antisocial features. Dr. Gross opined that Callahan's personality disorder would best be addressed through dialectical behavior therapy, which " is not a brief process and involves individual and group activities." Dr. Gross emphasized the importance of keeping Callahan safe and caring for his mental health but ultimately concluded that " [t]here is no clinical need for [Callahan] to be in a hospital institutional setting since he is not psychotic and does not demonstrate an acute or emergency crisis."

Psychologist Rushton Backer, Ph.D., evaluated Callahan on behalf of the BOP and issued a lengthy report. He likewise found that Callahan did not suffer from a mental disease or defect that would require hospitalization. Dr. Backer diagnosed Callahan with cocaine dependence, alcohol dependence, and cannabis abuse, all of which were in remission. He further diagnosed Callahan with borderline and antisocial personality disorders. His report explained that " [f]eatures of these disorders cause [Callahan] genuine distress and problems in most areas of his life, and account for many of the problems he reports experiencing during previous ...


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