The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hicks, J.
a.m. on the morning of their release. The direct address of the court's home page is: http://www.courts.state.nh.us/supreme.
Hillsborough-southern judicial district
Opinion Issued: July 31, 2012
This is an appeal from an order of the Superior Court (Nicolosi, J.) denying the State's request to compel the defendant, Gary E. Marchand, to undergo a psychological evaluation by the State's expert. This case presents us with two questions: (1) does the right against self- incrimination prevent the State from compelling a defendant to undergo a psychological or psychiatric examination when he raises an insanity defense; and (2) if such examinations may be compelled, what procedures should trial courts use when ordering them? We answer the first question in the negative, and provide a procedural framework for courts to follow. Accordingly, we reverse in part, vacate in part, and remand.
Our analysis begins with a recitation of the relevant facts, which are not in dispute. The defendant was indicted on one count of first degree murder, see RSA 630:1-a, I(a) (2007), and an alternative count of second degree murder, see RSA 630:1-b, I(b) (2007), in connection with the alleged homicide of his wife. In March 2010, he filed a notice with the superior court stating that he would raise an insanity defense. Several months later, the defendant notified the State that he plans to present the testimony of five treating physicians to establish this defense. Those physicians provided him with psychiatric treatment prior to the alleged homicide. None of them has discussed the homicide with the defendant, nor has any of them met with the defendant since the homicide. Thus, they will testify only as to the defendant's mental health during the period of time leading up to the homicide. The defendant does not intend to introduce any expert testimony developed from an evaluation conducted after the homicide.
The State moved to compel the defendant to submit to a psychological examination by the State's expert, Dr. Albert Drukteinis. After a hearing, the Superior Court (Lynn, C.J.) requested additional briefing.
In their briefs, both parties focus heavily upon State v. Briand, 130 N.H. 650, 657 (1988), in which we held "that a criminal defendant waives her right to resist the State's request that she submit to court-ordered psychiatric examination when she (1) submits to psychiatric examination by defense experts; and (2) evinces the intention to rely on that testimony at trial." The defendant argues that Briand is not controlling because the defendant in Briand sought to introduce expert testimony based upon a post-arrest evaluation, id. at 651, whereas the defendant here expects to introduce expert testimony based only upon evaluations that took place prior to the alleged crime. The defendant concedes that, under Briand, "when a defendant decides to introduce testimonial statements, namely, his account of relevant facts indirectly through an expert witness, [it] is treated as a waiver of his privilege against self-incrimination, obligating the accused to provide the State with the same access to the accused that he has given his own expert." However, the defendant argues that he made no testimonial statements to his treating physicians (and thus they will not indirectly convey such statements) because his statements to them did not involve the alleged homicide and were not made in preparation for trial. The defendant accordingly argues that he has not waived his right against self-incrimination by notifying the State that he expects to call his treating physicians to testify and thus cannot be compelled to submit to an examination by the State's expert.
The State disagrees, arguing that Briand did not "depend upon whether the psychiatric evaluation that was the subject of the [defendant's] proposed expert testimony took place before or after the crime occurred." Rather, according to the State, "Briand rested upon the fact that such expert psychiatric testimony is, of necessity, based upon a personal interview with the defendant, thus allowing the defendant to introduce his account of relevant facts indirectly through an expert witness." (Quotations omitted.) For this and other reasons, the State argued that the defendant should be compelled to submit to examination by the State's expert and that such would not violate his right against self-incrimination.
On March 29, 2011, the Superior Court (Nicolosi, J.) issued an order addressing the parties' arguments. Pursuant to RSA 135:17 (Supp. 2011), the court may order a psychological or psychiatric examination when a defendant raises an insanity defense, and, as briefly discussed above, Briand provides some guidance in this area. The court, however, concluded that this case is factually distinguishable from Briand because the defendant here did not provide a statement to his experts after the alleged homicide. The court further observed that Briand does not resolve the issue in this case because the defendant in Briand raised "a 'battered woman' defense that was framed as one of self-defense and/or provocation manslaughter," and not an insanity defense.
Presented with an apparently novel question, the court examined various cases addressing whether the right against self-incrimination is violated if a defendant is compelled to undergo a psychological or psychiatric examination by the State in circumstances similar to this case. The court ultimately concluded that "[n]one of the cases resolve the issue in the same factual context of the case at bar - that is, a circumstance where the defense has not opted to have its own expert evaluate the defendant after he has been accused of a criminal act - nor has the court found any case on point."
With no guiding case law, the court looked to the potential consequences of a ruling compelling the defendant to undergo an examination:
Should the State be able to produce expert evidence on sanity based on the defendant's compelled statements, the State would have an advantage in front of the jury that the defendant does not. In order to maintain his right against self-incrimination by resisting a forced disclosure about the alleged criminal event with the government's expert, the defendant would have to forgo introducing critical evidence that existed prior to the alleged crime. The inevitable result of the ruling the State seeks would be to force the defendant to assist the government to hold him criminally accountable when the defendant has not voluntarily waived his rights against self-incrimination.
It concluded that the "New Hampshire and federal constitutions should not tolerate placing the defendant ...