Law Professor, New Psychologist Hired for Nicolas Guaman Case

Nicolas Guaman, accused in the August 2011 killing of Matthew Denice, will get instruction from a Boston University law professor on the American legal system, and then another competency evaluation. The state prosecutor objected.

Nicolas Guaman, an Ecuadorian citizen who is accused in the 2011 killing of Milford motorcyclist Matthew Denice, will have instruction from a Boston University law professor in the American legal system.

And after receiving this one-on-one education, he will be evaluated again by a forensic psychologist, to determine if he is competent to stand trial.

The attorney for Guaman received permission from Superior Judge Janet Kenton-Walker on April 25 to hire both experts. The law professor will be paid $1,500, while the Hingham-based psychologist will receive $4,500, according to records in Worcester Superior Court.

She wrote then that she would revisit the issue in 60 days.

Guaman, a laborer, had two years of education in his native Ecuador before he left school. In her ruling, Kenton-Walker found he does not have a mental defect or illness, and can learn what he needs to know with the assistance of a qualified interpreter in his native, Inca-based language: Quechua.

The Quechua interpreter will also be hired, to assist Guaman in understanding the professionals. In a motion, his attorney, Peter Ettenberg, told the court the process will necessitate a delay. The next scheduled hearing is June 11.

Ettenberg wrote he plans to hire Karen Pita Loor, an associate clinical professor at Boston University School of Law, to attempt to educate Guaman on the American legal system and "to close the competency deficits." And he plans to hire Eric York Drogin, a licensed psychologist, to review previous materials on Guaman's competency, and then conduct an evaluation of his own, once Loor's work is completed.

"With the use of the interpreter, the time needed to complete the evaluation will be a bit longer than the average," Ettenberg wrote.

In a motion, the lead prosecutor objected to the request for the forensic psychologist, pointing out that Guaman has already had two competency evaluations, and that hiring an additional expert is inconsistent with the recent ruling.

Assistant District Attorney Jeffrey Travers said the victim's family, and the public, have a compelling interest in seeing the case move forward.

"The court has already ruled that the defendant does not suffer from any mental disease or defect that prevents him from learning the information necessary to become competent to stand trial," Travers wrote.

"The commonwealth argues that this defendant should not be allowed to perpetually revisit issues ruled on by the court."

Kenton-Walker, the judge who will hear the competency related aspects of the case, ruled in favor of the defense, saying the time to challenge the expert would be when that testimony is introduced.

The issue of Guaman's competency to stand trial was raised a year ago, by his defense counsel, who said his client is unable to assist in his defense. 

Guaman, who has been declared indigent by the court, is living in the U.S. illegally, according to police. Immediately following his arrest, the most serious charge he faced was motor vehicle homicide, operating under the influence of liquor. He was indicted by a county grand jury on the more serious charges of second degree murder, and manslaughter while driving a motor vehicle, as well as a vehicular homicide charge.

If convicted of second-degree murder, the most significant charge, Guaman would face a maximum sentence of life in prison, but with the possibility of parole after 15 years, according to a spokesman for the Worcester District Attorney's Office. 

Milford Senior Man May 16, 2013 at 12:13 AM
" "Professor Loor is excited to now work with Boston University law students to marry their newly-attained substantive knowledge of the law with real-life experiences and thus provide exceptional representation to people charged with crimes." amazing..." I wonder, would she be equally excited about seeing the victim (who died a horrible death at the hands of an illegal alien) get some justice? Us taxpayer are going to spend a fortune supplying lawyers and all kinds of other experts to defend this murderous illegal bastard.
Mary MacDonald May 16, 2013 at 01:10 AM
Hi Ed, I will have to see if they will comment. So far in this case, little to no comment from the prosecution outside court appearances. I was told a translator has been hired, although I saw no documentation about who it was. Also, the new court date is now July 17 in this case. The judge has approved a continuation request.
Ed Bertorelli May 16, 2013 at 01:43 AM
It appears to me that the same level of incompetence that has long been exhibited by the Worcester County DA Early's office is evident again- they have mishandled several high profile cases in Milford. But still Mr Early survives. And another question who the hell is paying all these experts for Guaman- us the taxpayers ?
Mary MacDonald May 16, 2013 at 02:21 AM
The experts are being paid for with public funds. Nicolas Guaman has been determined by the court to be indigent, so his attorneys and the experts have been appointed to defend him.
Ed Bertorelli May 16, 2013 at 03:48 PM
well it seems to me that he is getting 'special treatment' I very much doubt that you or I or most readers would be afforded this type of treatment on the public dole....if we were financially capable we would be spending tens of thousands of dollars for a defense like this.....I guess I am struck by the inertia of the state's prosecution...does not bode well


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