Amid objections by his Public Defender, Mexican American Political Association (MAPA) President Nativo Lopez was remanded on March 10, 2011, to Patton State Hospital for a maximum of three years, after being evaluated as mentally incompetent by Los Angeles psychiatrist Dr. Jack Rothberg.
Judge George Lomeli stated that Dr. Rothberg’s conclusion agreed with several previous mental-competency evaluations regarding Nativo Lopez’ inability to understand the nature of the eight felony charges against him related to voter fraud and also his lack of competence to cooperate in his defense. This included the following determinations:
-- That Nativo Lopez is not competent to stand trial and lacks the capacity to cooperate with a defense attorney.
-- That Lopez cannot be treated effectively other than in an involuntary setting such as Patton State Hospital.
-- That Lopez is not likely to comply with orders to take medication voluntarily.
-- That he lacks the capacity to make decisions.
-- That Nativo Lopez is psychotic and suffers from numerous delusional ideas that interfere with his thinking,
-- That Lopez is highly paranoid and likely to deteriorate without medication; and
-- That in his current psychotic state, Nativo Lopez could pose a further danger to himself or others, but with treatment by medication he may be able to stand trial.
Judge Lomeli first offered to send defendant Lopez to Gateways Hospital and Mental Health Center in Los Angeles for further evaluation and repeatedly asked for assurance that Nativo would cooperate and answer all questions by doctors at that facility. He cited reports from psychiatrists on prior orders by the court during which Nativo had refused to identify himself.
Nativo responded that he is a “third-party intervener and executor for the estate of Larry Lopez, aka Nativo Lopez” and stated that he would attend appointments at Gateways Center only under “threat, duress and coercion by the court.” After five requests by Judge Lomeli for unequivocal agreement to fully cooperate, Deputy District Attorney Juliet Schmidt stated that Lopez was continuing his refusal to cooperate, and that there was no indication Lopez would cooperate in voluntary evaluation at Gateway, based on the report of Dr. Rothberg.
After one more attempt to elicit an agreement of “unconditional” cooperation, the Judge stated that that the criminal proceedings against Nativo Lopez are suspended, and cited Penal Code Sections 1368, 1389 and 1370 in rendering his decision to remand Nativo Lopez to Patton State Hospital for a maximum of three years, minus any time served in custody.
Judge Lomeli further stated that, based upon a preponderance of the evidence and in accordance with the evaluation of Dr. Jack Rothberg, it is appropriate that Nativo Lopez be treated involuntarily with medication and there are indications that such medication could be effective in improving Lopez' condition; but without medication Nativo Lopez’ mental condition could further deteriorate and he could suffer further harm, and that, in the alternative Lopez could pose a risk of danger to himself and others.
Lopez was hand cuffed and removed from the courtroom by Sheriff’s deputies.
The judge ordered a progress report in Dept. 123 on March 17, without the defendant present, to determine that Nativo Lopez has been transported to Patton State Hospital.