Sell v. United States, 539 U.S. 166, 5 (2003)

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170

SELL v. UNITED STATES

Opinion of the Court

was again hospitalized and subsequently released. On various occasions, he complained that public officials, for example, a State Governor and a police chief, were trying to kill him. Id., at 4. In April 1997, he told law enforcement personnel that he "spoke to God last night," and that "God told me every [Federal Bureau of Investigation] person I kill, a soul will be saved." Id., at 1.

In May 1997, the Government charged Sell with submitting fictitious insurance claims for payment. See 18 U. S. C. 1035(a)(2). A Federal Magistrate Judge (Magistrate), after ordering a psychiatric examination, found Sell "currently competent," but noted that Sell might experience "a psychotic episode" in the future. App. 321. The Magistrate released Sell on bail. A grand jury later produced a superseding indictment charging Sell and his wife with 56 counts of mail fraud, 6 counts of Medicaid fraud, and 1 count of money laundering. Id., at 12-22.

In early 1998, the Government claimed that Sell had sought to intimidate a witness. The Magistrate held a bail revocation hearing. Sell's behavior at his initial appearance was, in the judge's words, " 'totally out of control,' " involving "screaming and shouting," the use of "personal insults" and "racial epithets," and spitting "in the judge's face." Id., at 322. A psychiatrist reported that Sell could not sleep because he expected the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to " 'come busting through the door,' " and concluded that Sell's condition had worsened. Ibid. After considering that report and other testimony, the Magistrate revoked Sell's bail.

In April 1998, the grand jury issued a new indictment charging Sell with attempting to murder the FBI agent who had arrested him and a former employee who planned to testify against him in the fraud case. Id., at 23-29. The attempted murder and fraud cases were joined for trial.

In early 1999, Sell asked the Magistrate to reconsider his competence to stand trial. The Magistrate sent Sell to the

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