LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, THURSDAY, OCTOBER 7, 1970
(Whereupon, on the above date, the defendant appearing in court with his counsel, Samuel Bubrick, the People being represented by Burton Katz, Deputy District Attorney of Los Angeles County, the following proceedings were had in Department 100 before the Honorable George M. Dell, Judge Presiding:)
THE COURT: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. We will commence with our afternoon session.
This is the case of People against Charles Watson, No. 305. The record will indicate that the defendant is present and is now standing in an area reserved for individuals in custody.
The attorney of record, as far as the formal court records are concerned, for Mr. Watson, is the Public Defender. However, I do wish to indicate for the record that at the time I continued the case at the Public Defender's request to October 8th I anticipated that in all likelihood a conflict of interest would be declared.
The Public Defender did notify me approximately two or three days after September 28th that a conflict of interest would be declared and, for the record, the Public Defender is now relieved pursuant to Section 987(a) of the Penal Code.
I contacted Attorney Sam Bubrick, who is an extremely experienced and capable counsel, one of our best respected lawyers who has tried a great number of death penalty and other various cases, and asked him if he would accept an appointment in this case. Mr. Bubrick indicated he would prefer to speak to Mr. Watson. I authorized him to do so. Mr. Bubrick would then advise me.
He thereafter did indicate to me that at least at this stage of the case he would accept an appointment.
I think it's only fair to say this is contingent either on Mr. Watson cooperating with him or being in a condition where he couldn't cooperate. I think those are reasonable conditions.
And I did indicate to Mr. Bubrick he would be appointed under Section 987(a) of the Penal Code. If he has not changed his mind in the meantime, he'll be deemed appointed at this time.
MR. BUBRICK: Your Honor, I'm still willing to undertake it under the same terms and conditions.
THE COURT: Did I state those correctly?
MR. BUBRICK: You certainly did, your Honor.
THE COURT: Well, Mr. Bubrick is now counsel of record and the matter is advanced on the Court's own motion from October 8th until today.
I did previously inform the defendant of his rights at an earlier time. Last there is any question about it, though, inasmuch as this is the first time he is present in court with counsel who has indicated that he is going to represent the defendant, I will state to the defendant that he is entitled to a speedy and public trial; he is entitled to a to a trial before a jury; he has the right to be confronted by all the witnesses testifying against him and has the right to cross--examine those witnesses; he has the right to the compulsory precast of the Court to obtain witnesses in his favor; he has the right to have the assistance of counsel of his own choosing for his defense at all stages of the proceeding; he has a right to testify on his own behalf but he cannot be, compelled to be a witness against himself.
In all cases except capital case any defendant is entitled to be admitted to liberty at reasonable bail. But a defendant charged with an offense punishable with death cannot be admitted to bail if proof of his guilt is evident or the presumption thereof is great.
Mr. Watson, do you have any questions about these rights as I stated them to you?
THE DEFENDANT: (No response.)
THE COURT: Well, the record will indicate that the defendant is facing the Court; that he has his hands on the rail in front of him; that he is looking at the Court and has an expression that I won't attempt to characterize but he makes no response to the Court's query.
Mr. Bubrick, in my judgement and inasmuch as you are counsel of record I won't attempt to overrule your judgment, but it would seem to me that without declaring a doubt as to the defendant's present sanity it would be in the interest of justice to appoint psychiatrists to examine the defendant and at least report to the Court on his ability to understand the nature and purpose of the proceedings taken against him and to cooperate in a rational manner with counsel in presenting a defense.
Would that be objectionable --
MR. BUBRICK: No, your Honor.
THE COURT: -- if the Court Would take such action?
MR. BUBRICK: That is the very thing I had in mind this afternoon your Honor, to ask your Honor to proceed under Sections 5 and 6, as your Honor has indicated he would, and perhaps appoint three doctors.
THE COURT: Yes. I would like to do so at this time.
I will not declare a doubt as to the defendant's present sanity. I do not know whether the defendant's present posture is legitimate or not and I'm not implying that it isn't. At the same time, I've seen no bizarre behavior, nothing tangible has been presented to me directly. All that has been presented is the defendant's failure to respond to the inquiries of the Court, failure to make any statements to the Court, and this is not the same conduct that he exhibited when first he appeared with Mr. Ransom when he appeared to be fully present and did respond to inquiries made by the Court.
Pursuant to Section 730 of the Evidence Code, then, only, I will appoint three doctors -- I'll name them in just a moment -- to examine the defendant and report to the Court on the following items:
Item 5 and 6, whether the defendant is presently able to understand the nature and purpose of the proceedings taken against him and is presently able to cooperate in a rational manner with counsel in presenting a defense.
In addition, if the psychiatrists are able to go beyond that point I will request them optionally to report on the following items, which may become material at a subsequent time:
Item 2, sanity at the time of the commission of the alleged offense;
Items 9, 10, 11 and 12, metal capacity to deliberate, premeditate, harbor malice and meaningfully and maturely reflect on the gravity of his alleged contemplated acts.
It may very well be that the psychiatrists will not be able to express any opinion excepting as to Items 5 and 6, if at all. But I would request the other items.
I would feel that psychiatrists should be allowed about two weeks for this, Mr. Bubrick.
MR. BUBRICK: I think we can go a little beyond that, if you Honor will. I'd like a chance to communicate with Boyd in Texas after this proceeding so I can send him a certified copy of my appointment.
I have also talked to Mr. Katz. We both feel, if your Honor would approve, that perhaps 30 days would be in order.
THE COURT: That's certainly agreeable as far as I'm concerned.
It's requested by counsel, it's in the best interest of the defendant, I'm convined. He may very well be in no condition to undergo any further proceedings. I think that the request is reasonable and is in the interest of justice.
Is there any particular date that you would like to request for a return date in this Court? We will try to have those reports available at least a week before that.
MR. BUBRICK: Friday, November 6, your Honor.
THE COURT: Friday, November 6 is agreeable. We will set that at 9:00 o'clock subject to possible adjustment if the Court's calendar requires that we handle the matter a little later on in the afternoon of that day.
MR. BUBRICK: Thank you, your Honor.
THE COURT: We will ask that the psychiatrists, whom I've not yet named, have their reports in at least a week in advance of that, have them in to me by October 30th. I'll see to it that the counsel for the People and counsel for the defendant get their copies.
The psychiatrist I'll name will be Doctors Seymour Pollock, George Y. Abe, and I think particularly because of his extensive experience with individuals in custody and particular attributes that some of them display on some occasions, I'm going to appoint Dr. Marcus E. Crahan, all pursuant to Section 730 of the Evidence Code.
As indicated, I'll ask them to have their reports in to me by the date indicated.
Is there any objection, Mr. Bubrick, to their reading the Grand Jury transcript in this case which may or may not be material? I have not read it myself so, frankly, I don't know.
MR. BUBRICK: No, I do not think there really is, your Honor.
THE COURT: Is that a -- I'm sorry, Mr. Bubrick?
MR. BUBRICK: No, I'm sorry, I have no objection to that. I was just going to ask your Honor to reconsider the 730 section and ask your Honor whether he wouldn't, for the limited purpose of this one proceeding, perhaps also include 1017 of the Penal Code.
THE COURT: I've got no objection as to the 1017, but if you can, after reading the reports, indicate to the Court that there is no issue as to present sanity, then, of course, they will remain confidential.
No, I've got no objection.
MR. BUBRICK: I certainly will do that, your Honor. I'd let the District Attorney --
THE COURT: I'll make the appointment under 1017, certainly, if that is requested.
Very well, then, let me make this additional statement, then: I will request that the Grand Jury transcript of course, rather than the preliminary transcript, be read by the respective doctors, and I'll authorize Mr. Bubrick and/or Mr. Katz to furnish to any of the doctors any additional information that they may feel is material with reference to the examination of this defendant.
MR. BUBRICK: Thank you.
THE COURT: Thank you very much.
Any other matters at this time, gentlemen?
MR. KATZ: Your Honor, since Mr. Bubrick is now counsel of record, I think Mr. Bubrick was going to indicate he is in possession of the copy of the Indictment, together with two volumes of --
MR. BUBRICK: Yes, I do have it, your Honor, and I acknowledge it.
THE COURT: All right. Thank you very much. I appreciate you mentioning that.
Obviously, it would not he appropriate to arraign the defendant at this time and I see no point it even reading the charges, Mr. Bubrick, unless you want that.
MR. BUBRICK: No, your Honor, I'm in agreement with that.
THE COURT: Very well. Thank you very much, gentlemen. We are in recess at this time.
MR. KATZ: Thank your, your Honor.
MR. BUBRICK: Thank you.
(Whereupon, the matter was continued to November 6, 1970, in Department 100 for further proceedings.)