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United States v. Wayda

United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Western Division

November 5, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Petitioner,
v.
SEAN MICHAEL WAYDA, Respondent.

          ORDER

          TERRENCE W. BOYLE CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This cause comes before the Court on respondent's motion to dismiss. Petitioner has responded, respondent has replied, and a hearing on the matter was held before the undersigned on October 23, 2019, at Raleigh, North Carolina. In this posture, the motion is ripe for ruling and, for the reasons that follow, the motion to dismiss is granted.

         BACKGROUND

         On March 15, 2016, respondent, Wayda, was charged by way of indictment in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland with one count of production of child pornography and one count of receipt of child pornography. 18 U.S.C. §§ 2551(a) & 2552(a)(2); United States v. Wayda, No. l:16-CR-97-GLR-l (D. Md. Mar. 15, 2016).[1] Wayda was arraigned in the District of Maryland on April 8, 2016, where he entered pleas of not guilty. On May 26, 2016, the United States moved to determine Wayda's competence to stand trial pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 4241, and an order granting such motion was entered the same day. The District of Maryland court's order committed Wayda to the custody of the Attorney General pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 4241(b) to determine whether Wayda was incompetent to understand the nature and consequences of the proceedings against him or assist properly in his defense. No. 1:16-CR-97-GLR-1 (D. Md. May 25, 2016). On December 16, 2016, the District of Maryland court conducted a competency hearing. The court found Wayda incompetent to stand trial and ordered Wayda committed to the custody of the Attorney General pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 4241(d), for a period not to exceed four months, to determine whether there was a substantial probability that in the foreseeable future Wayda would be restored to competency. Id. (D. Md. Dec. 16, 2016).

         On September 12, 2017, after having conducted a hearing, the court again committed Wayda to the custody of the Attorney General "pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 4241 to undergo continued hospitalization for a reasonable period of time, not to exceed four months ... as is necessary to determine whether there is a substantial probability that in the near foreseeable future he will attain the capacity to permit the trial to proceed." Id. (D. Md. Sept. 12, 2017). Another competency hearing was conducted on July 9, 2018, after which the District of Maryland, by order entered December 13, 2018, found that Wayda's competence was unable to be restored and that the court would conduct further proceedings subject to the provisions of 18 U.S.C. §§ 4246 and 4248. Id. (D. Md. Dec. 13, 2018).

         A certification of sexual dangerousness pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 4248(a) was completed on June 6, 2019, and filed in this district on June 11, 2019. [DE 1], Wayda asks this Court to dismiss the certificate of sexual dangerousness and these proceedings for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6).

         DISCUSSION

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) authorizes dismissal of a claim for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. When subject matter jurisdiction is challenged, the plaintiff or petitioner has the burden of proving jurisdiction to survive the motion. Evans v. B.F. Perkins Co., 166 F.3d 642, 647-50 (4th Cir. 1999). A Rule 12(b)(6) motion tests the legal sufficiency of the complaint. Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 283 (19S6). The Court assumes, without deciding, that the term custody in this context is "a mere element of a civil commitment claim[, ]" and thus considers Wayda's motion under Rule 12(b)(6). United States v. Welsh, 879 F.3d 530, 534 (4th Cir. 2018).

         Section 4248 is "unambiguous with respect to those eligible for certification, and it identifies three categories of persons who may be certified as sexually dangerous . . .." United States v. Broncheau, 645 F.3d 676, 684 (4th Cir. 2011). The first category consists of persons who are in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons (BOP). The second category consists of persons who have been committed to the custody of the Attorney General pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 4241(d). The third category consists of persons against whom all criminal charges have been dismissed due to the mental condition of the individual. The filing of a certification of sexual dangerousness stays the release of the certified individual pending completion of the § 4248 procedures. 18 U.S.C. § 4248(a).

         Although he had been previously committed under § 4241(d), Wayda was no longer in the Attorney General's custody pursuant to § 4241(d) when he was certified as sexually dangerous pursuant to § 4248. Section 4241(d) provides:

(d) Determination and disposition.-If, after the hearing, the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant is presently suffering from a mental disease or defect rendering him mentally incompetent to the extent that he is unable to understand the nature and consequences of the proceedings against him or to assist properly in his defense, the court shall commit the defendant to the custody of the Attorney General. The Attorney General shall hospitalize the defendant for treatment in a suitable facility-
(1) for such a reasonable period of time, not to exceed four months, as is necessary to determine whether there is a substantial probability that in the foreseeable future he will attain the capacity to permit the proceedings to go forward; and (2) for an additional reasonable period of time until-
(A) his mental condition is so improved that trial may proceed, if the court finds that there is a substantial probability that within such additional period of time he will attain the capacity ...

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