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DeSoto psychiatric evaluation sealed

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THE court-ordered psychiatric evaluation of murder suspect Chad Ryan DeSoto has been completed, but Superior Court Judge Anita Sukola ordered it sealed in response to Public Defender Eric Miller’s motion.

Miller, who represents DeSoto, argued that his client’s right to a fair trial might be jeopardized if the report were released.

Miller reasoned that public dissemination of the psychiatric evaluation “will bias the jury pool in the matter, making it extremely difficult for the parties to have a fair and impartial jury selected in this case.”

“The psychiatric report contains confidential psychiatric information personal to the defendant,” he added. “The Attorney General’s Office should have access to it in preparation for trial and parts of it may in fact become evidence in the trial, and parts of the psychiatric evaluation are personal and private to the defendant and should not be subject to public dissemination.”

It remains to be seen whether Miller will also seek the sealing of the entire court process that requires a determination of whether DeSoto is fit to stand trial.

DeSoto is accused of killing three tourists and injuring 11 others during a rampage in Tumon on Feb. 12.

On Feb. 28, DeSoto pleaded not guilty by reason of mental illness, disease or defect to three counts of aggravated murder and 11 counts of attempted aggravated murder, both as first-degree felonies and attached with special allegation of possession and use of a deadly weapon.

There are two issues in this case. First, whether DeSoto is competent to stand trial; and second, whether the jury can render a not guilty verdict by reason of mental defect.

Judiciary Director of Policy, Planning & Community Relations Joshua Tenorio yesterday explained that with or without the motion to seal the psychiatric evaluation, the document would not be made available for public review, considering it contains an individual’s medical information.

“The only time it would be up for review is during a trial when the defense is trying to establish that the defendant should be found not guilty by reason of mental defect illness, etc. by a jury,” he said.

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