April 27, 2010; Phoenix Arizona. The mother of missing baby Gabriel Johnson, Elizabeth Johnson, and the woman who had once hoped to adopt him, Tammi Peters Smith, were to appear for a Status Hearing this morning at Maricopa County Superior Court. Johnson waived her right; Smith appeared.
Elizabeth Johnson ran away with Gabriel in December 2009 to San Antonio, Texas where she gave him to a couple, whom she said she trusted, in a park. Gabriel, who has not been seen since, will turn age one on May 3.
Johnson’s attorney Nicholas Alcock filed papers alleging that Johnson is incompetent to stand trial. Judge Paul McMurdie granted all time extensions for Smith and Johnson- and, just for Johnson, a motion for the Full Rule 11 Evaluations and Court Process, whereby she will be evaluated for competency according to the rule’s requirements. A portion of Rule 11 is as follows:
In the event that a defendant (in-custody OR out-of-custody) is still considered as incompetent yet not restorable within the statutory time limits, he/she may meet the criteria for civil commitment. The County Attorney’s office has 24-48 hours to file a civil commitment petition. The Defendant is transported to Desert Vista Behavioral Health Center for evaluation and treatment. The criminal charges are dismissed upon the defendant arriving at Desert Vista either by MCSO transporting from jail or by self surrender. For the full Rule 11, click here.
Due to the high volume of ‘discovery’ material, the case was deemed complex. Amy Nguyen, Smith’s attorney, asked the judge for a time extension to review evidence. “I think I lost count; it’s boxes. A lot of it is disclosed on CDs so it’s numerous documents, and I think we are in excess of 50 CDs at this point,” said Nguyen of the evidence. Tammi Peters Smith and Johnson’s next court date is June 7, 2010.
“The American Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Mental Health Standards stated in 1994 that the issue of a defendant’s current mental incompetence is the single most important issue in the criminal mental health field.”- as stated in Wikipedia. Johnson will undergo evaluation and any necessary treatment.
The plaintiff is the State of Arizona, represented by Belle Whitney. The attorneys are public defender Nicholas Alcock for Johnson and high-profile attorney Michael Kimerer for Tammi Smith- Nguyen belongs to his law firm.
The charges for Elizabeth Johnson are as follows: one class two felony of Kidnapping; three class four felonies of Child Abuse, Conspiracy to Commit Custodial Interference, Custodial Interference. She is held on a cash only bond of $1,100,000.00.
The charges for Tammi Peters Smith are Conspiracy to Commit Custodial Interference and Forgery, both class four felonies. A charge of Custodial Interference was dropped.
For information on Recovery of Competency in Arizona, click here.
Sources: Eyewitnesses;Superior Court/Probate and Mental Health Rule; wikipediaCompetency Evaluation; KPHOBaby Gabriel’s Mom Granted Psych Evaluation;
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