Houston Judge Sets Competency Hearing for Stanford

U.S. District Judge David Hittner has set a competency hearing for December 20, 2011 to determine if R. Allen Stanford is competent to stand trial in 2012 for an alleged $7 billion investment fraud scheme regarding certificates of deposit (CDs) issued by his Antigua based Stanford International Bank, according to Bloomberg. The judge in another order has set the case for trial on January 23, 2012.

Allen Stanford is the accused Texas financier who has been locked up in Butner, North Carolina at the U.S. Bureau of Prisons hospital, undergoing treatment for addiction to anti-anxiety drugs, among other things, in addition to being worked up for a prison related head injury. Stanford has been incarcerated since June 2009 and his case has been set for trial on two prior occasions, only to be postponed due to medical reasons which have prevented him from being able to assist in his defense.

Depending on the testimony elicited at the hearing, Judge Hittner will be faced with deciding to commit Stanford to a long term care facility. According to the article, Stanford would have "to be deemed a danger to himself or others" in order to justify being permanently institutionalized. Stanford's attorney Eric Sussman said that the charges might have to be dropped if the judge determines that he cannot be restored to competency. Wendell Odom, a Houston criminal attorney chimed in saying that it was highly unlikely that Stanford would ever be deemed to be so permanently incapacitated that he could never be tried.

Only time will tell in the case which is pending in federal court in Houston, Texas. (U.S. v. Stanford, 09cr342, U.S. District Court, Souhern District of Texas (Houston).

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