Dwight W. Schuster - Physician - Hearing on Comprehension

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Dwight W. Schuster - Physician - Hearing on Comprehension

Postby admin » October 31st, 2010, 6:59 pm


DWIGHT W. SCHUSTER , a witness called by the Court,
being duly sworn by the Court, testified as follows:


Q. What is your name, sir?

A. Dwight W. Schuster.

Q. What is your business or profession?

A. Physician.

Q. Are you a practicing physician here in Marion County, State of Indiana, licensed?

A. I am.

Q. How long have you been a physician?

A. I was licensed in 1944.

Q. Before that did you go to any school - let the record show Mr. Nedeff is here now.

A. I graduated from Butler University and Indiana University School of Medicine.

Q. Did you serve any internship or residency?

A. I had the prescribed internship, three years residency training and further specialty training in neurology and psychiatry.

Q. Do you specialize in any particular branch of medicine?

A. I do, in the field of neurology and psychiatry.

Q. The defendant John Stephan Baniszewski is here in the courtroom. Do you see him, Doctor?

A. Yes, sir, I do.

Q. Did you examine that defendant?

A. I did.

Q. That defendant is charged in this court, along with other defendants, and is being tried, together with other defendants, on a charge of First Degree Murder. He is represented by his private counsel, Forrest Bowman. The penalty for the charge of Murder in the First Degree is either life imprisonment or death. A lesser included offense is Murder in the Second Degree, the penalty for which is life imprisonment. Another lesser degree of Homicide, included in this indictment, is that of Manslaughter, the penalty for which, on conviction, is two to twenty-one years. Would you say this defendant, John Stephan Baniszewski has comprehension sufficient to understand the nature of these proceedings and assist in making his defense?

A. I believe he does have that comprehension.

THE COURT: Any cross examination, State of Indiana?

MR. NEW: None, Your Honor.

THE COURT: Defendant?


Q. Doctor, when did you examine the defendant?

A. April 22, 1966.

Q. For how long a period of time?

A. Approximately one hour.

Q. Is that your only examination of him?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. What diagnostic techniques did you use?

A. The examination consisted of interviewing him to elicit the history as he could relate it, both in regard to present events and past history; the general observation and evaluation of his emotional responses to specific questions designed to evaluate his ability to comprehend - not only legal proceedings, but general comprehension; evaluation of his intelligence roughly, and a general survey as consistent with a psychiatric examination.

Q. Did you cause him to be examined by a psychologist?

A. No, sir.

Q. Do you know whether or not he has been examined by a psychologist?

A. I do not.

Q. In coming to your conclusion, did you have the benefit of the - excuse me - did you consult with a psychologist?

A. No, I did not.

Q. And is your conclusion based upon this one hour examination you had with him?

A. It is.

Q. Now, what is the age of this defendant, if you know?

A. Thirteen.

Q. Is it helpful in examining a thirteen year old boy to have access to information concerning his parents?

A. Access from someone else other than the individual himself?

Q. Yes.

A. Yes, I think information from any source can he helpful. It is not always necessary to determine an opinion regards to comprehension.

Q. Did you, as a matter of fact, examine his mother in connection with another matter pending in this court?

A. I did.

Q. And have you examined any other relatives of this defendant?

A. No, sir.

Q. And your examination of his mother was in connection with your appointment, a court appointed physician, was it?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. Was that examination before or after the examination of this thirteen year old defendant?

A. Before.

Q. You had the benefit then, when you examined him, of your examination of her, right?

A. Yes.

Q. Did that include any psychological testing?

A. Yes, testing of her.

Q. Of her, was that by a psychologist?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. And did he submit - he or she - to you a written result of those tests?

A. Yes.

Q. That was with respect to the mother?

A. That is right.

Q. Did you have any particular reason for not using a psychologist to examine the boy, when you did to examine the mother?

A. I did not feel, after the examination of the boy, there was any need for a special psychological study of the boy.

Q. You did, after the mother, is that correct?

A. Yes.

Q. Doctor, is the confidential relationship of physician and patient important in diagnosis?

A. I think it is important in treatment, not so much in diagnosis, confidentiality between doctor and patient, and of course in a situation of this type where the individual knows that he is being examined at the request of the court, this already makes confidentiality open. In other words, it is not the same as dealing with him on a private basis.

Q. That is right. You don't feel that impairs your study of him, your examination of him?

A. I did not think so.

Q. Did you find he had any difficulty in concentrating?

A. No, he was able to concentrate very satisfactorily during this period of time.

Q. Did you find he had any difficulty or any reluctance to relate any details to you of any past experiences?

A. No, he spoke freely.

Q. Did you find any impairment at all of this boy?

A. No impairment in regard to his comprehension, his ability to understand the nature of what was going on.

Q. Well, do I take it you did find some impairment?

THE COURT: Let the record show Mr. Erbecker is now in the courtroom, all parties are here.

A. No, I did not find anything I considered significant from a psychiatric standpoint, out of the ordinary.

Q. Out of the ordinary?

A. Yes, ordinary emotional responses an individual would have under these circumstances.

Q. And when you say under these circumstances, you include what, Doctor?

A. Being on trial.

Q. Being on trial?

A. The possibilities what might happen.

Q. In those circumstances you evaluated - did you include the circumstance of being jointly tried with his mother?

A. Yes.

Q. Do you think that is contributing to any responses he may have now?

A. I think that he showed some concern in regard to talking about the total situation as involving his mother, yes.

MR. BOWMAN: No further questions.


Q. Doctor, you are the same physician who has been on the stand now in reference to John Stephan Baniszewski - were you also appointed to examine defendant Coy Hubbard as to whether or not he has comprehension sufficient to understand the nature of the proceedings and make his defense?

A. I was and did.

Q. The same indictment refers to the defendant Coy Hubbard, charged with the offense of First Degree Murder, with the leaser included offenses I told you about before. Would you say the defendant Coy Hubbard has sufficient understanding to understand the nature of these proceedings and make his defense?

A. I believe he does have such comprehension.

THE COURT: Any cross examination, State?

MR. NEW: No questions.

THE COURT: Mr. Bowman?

MR. BOWMAN: No questions.

THE COURT: Thanks, Dr. Hull, please - May this doctor leave?


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