Judge finds Padia incompetent again
After weighing testimony from a competency hearing earlier this month for Anthony Padia, a New Castle man facing a second-degree murder charge in the death of his father, Judge James Boyd ruled Wednesday that Padia is still incompetent.
The charges stem from December 2014, when police say Padia and his father got into a fight that resulted in the latter’s death. Family members reported that the two had been drinking that night and got into an argument. At one point Padia was choking his father, Leon, and when the fight was over, Leon went to bed.
But early the next morning, Leon’s wife found him cold and unresponsive.
Concern about Padia’s competency arose immediately. Police officers on the scene reported that “Anthony has some mental issues and acts more like a child than 27 years old.”
The prosecution raised the issue of competency in court, and by the following March the first set of evaluations deemed him incompetent. Boyd ordered that he undergo treatment through the Colorado Department of Human Services.
In the last year, the 28-year-old has undergone five competency evaluations with three different forensic psychologists. Two of them found that Padia is incompetent while the third said it is a “close call” – that given the right circumstances with court proceedings explained in the right way, he could be competent.
Boyd said he found the testimony of the other two psychologists more persuasive.
In his ruling, the judge focused on the testimony of Dr. Carl Redick, the sole psychologist who thought Padia could be competent, because the prosecution bears the burden of proof in a competency hearing.
During the April 7 competency hearing, the psychologist described Padia’s competency as not present all the time. The defense attorneys would have to work to maintain his competency, he said.
Redick recommended several measures that would improve Padia’s ability to contribute to his own defense and understand what’s happening in the courtroom.
Padia would need to be reoriented to the courtroom and the purpose of the proceeding each time. His attorneys would need to continually assess whether he is paying attention. And when he needs to participate, the proceedings would need to slow down for him to keep up.
Boyd said these requirements are troubling, given that Padia might have to maintain his attention and understanding of the court proceedings over a 10-day trial.
Most concerning about Redick’s testimony, Boyd said, was that even if all those steps were achieved, they’re not a guarantee that Padia would be able to contribute to his defense and understand the proceedings.
Boyd had ruled Padia incompetent before, so the defense wants the judge to go a step further and rule that their client is also unlikely to regain competency in the future.
The judge said he’d heard enough evidence in the April 7 hearing to make a ruling, but another hearing is scheduled for July 5 to give attorneys the chance to analyze and argue on that evidence.