Lawyer wants to be jailed with client until long-awaited competency exam takes place
A lawyer in Shelby County, Kentucky, has filed a motion seeking to be housed in the same cell as his client until the Kentucky Correctional Psychiatric Center determines whether the client is competent for trial. Image from Shutterstock.
A Kentucky lawyer hopes to call attention to the plight of his client and others waiting for long-delayed competency exams by living in jail with his client.
Lawyer Matt Pippin of Shelby County, Kentucky, has filed a motion seeking to be housed in the same cell as his client until the Kentucky Correctional Psychiatric Center determines whether the client is competent for trial, WDRB reports.
Pippin said his client, Jacob Gonzalez, has been awaiting the exam for more than a year. Gonzalez is charged with harassment, indecent exposure, fleeing police and attempted sexual misconduct for allegedly attacking a woman in a park while naked from the waist down, according to a prior story by WLKY.
Pippin told WDRB that Gonzalez has been detained without a competency hearing longer than the maximum sentence that he would have received if he was convicted. Meanwhile, Gonzalez is unable to receive medication or treatment, according to WDRB.
The waiting list for state psychiatric center competency exams has increased to more than 300 defendants, an official with the center testified last year. The center is addressing the backlog by conducting some evaluations by videoconference.
Pippin would like to live with his client in jail beginning Nov. 9. Pippin’s plan is to be released during the day, so he can continue to represent clients. He would also like to make weekly reports to the court on Gonzalez’s mental health condition.
“I don’t want to be incarcerated but I don’t want this on my conscience anymore,” Pippin told WDRB. “And I do think that there is a better chance of this being expedited … if there is some attention paid to it.”