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Witnesses to Testify On King Competency - Oct 13, 1990 - Omaha World-Herald

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Oct 13, 1990 Witnesses to Testify On King Competency; [Sunrise Edition] David Thompson. Omaha World - Herald. Omaha, Neb. pg. 13

Full Text (580 words)
(Copyright 1990 Omaha World-Herald Company)

Six psychiatrists and psychologists will testify in person or submit written reports in Wednesday's federal court hearing on the competency of Lawrence E. King Jr., top executive of the failed Franklin Community Federal Credit Union, a document filed in the case said.

Four of the witnesses are associated with two federal prison hospitals, one with defense attorney Alan Stoler and another with defense attorneys Steven Achelpohl and Marilyn Abbott, U.S. Magistrate Richard Kopf said in an order that outlined procedures to be followed in the hearing.

Kopf's order also spelled out in more detail the reason King is represented by three court-appointed defense attorneys.

Witnesses Not Named

The hearing, scheduled to begin at 9 a.m., will determine whether King is competent to stand trial on 40 counts of conspiracy, fraud and federal income-tax violations brought as the result of the disappearance of $39 million from Franklin's treasury.

Defense attorneys have appealed Kopf's order that the hearing not be closed to the public, and the issue is pending before U.S. District Judge William Cambridge.

Kopf said earlier this week that the hearing will begin Wednesday, open or not. Witnesses have arranged their schedules to testify at the hearing, which may continue through Friday.

The magistrate's order did not name the witnesses, but it referred to earlier reports submitted by psychiatrists and psychologists. Those came from three staff members of the Medical Facility for Federal Prisoners at Rochester, Minn., Drs. Carl Malmquist and Ruth Westrick, both psychiatrists, and Dr. Dan Foster, a psychologist.

Other reports came from Dr. Dorsey Dysart, chief psychiatrist at the U.S. Medical Facility at Springfield, Mo.; Dr. Herbert Modlin, a psychiatrist who heads the department of law and psychiatry at Menninger Clinic, Topeka, Kan.; and Dr. Glen Lipson, a Menninger psychologist.

The reports from all six have been sealed under the magistrate's order.Ethical Responsibility

Kopf also said in a footnote of his open-hearing order that he appointed Stoler last March to represent King's "expressed interest," and that was separate from defense attorneys Achelpohl and Mrs. Abbott who represent King's "best interests."

The interest King expressed was that he was competent to go to trial. Achelpohl and Mrs. Abbott contended that for his best interest, he should not go to trial, based in part on psychiatric reports.

"I wanted to avoid disrupting the attorney-client relationship between King and Achelpohl and (Mrs.) Abbott," Kopf wrote. "The attorney-client relationship might be strained to the breaking point, it was feared, if Achelpohl and (Mrs.) Abbott were put in a position of representing King's 'expressed interests,' while at the same time having a duty to represent his 'best interests.' "

The magistrate said there was "a serious tension" between Achelpohl's and Mrs. Abbott's ethical responsibility to represent King's expressed interests and their equally important ethical duty to be candid with the judge. "These concerns have not abated," Kopf said.

In his order, Kopf said he would defer ruling on requests from King and his wife, Alice, to move the trial until after the competency hearing is completed. Mrs. King is named in 12 of the 40 counts of the indictment against her husband and is accused of conspiracy and fraud.

The Kings contend that extensive publicity has made it impossible to find an impartial jury for the case.

Kopf said the manner in which the competency hearing is conducted "may well have a significant bearing" on whether the trial is moved before an effort is made to select a jury.

Credit: World-Herald Staff Writer

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