The Allentown Morning Call posts, "Judge orders further psychiatric evaluation of Michael Ballard," by Riley Yates and Pamela Lehman, following this morning's hearing in Pennsylvania.
Mass murderer Michael Eric Ballard's hearing Friday rejecting any appeals of his death sentence began with Ballard objecting to an evaluation by a psychiatrist.
Ballard was brought before Northampton County Judge Emil Giordano in a wheelchair, cuffed, with a large legal folder in his lap.
Giordano said he wanted a psychiatrist to again evaluate Ballard to make sure he was competent to waive any appeals, but Ballard objected. Ballard said during his trial, he had been evaluated by a number of mental health experts and said another evaluation was not necessary.
Despite a series of questions, Giordano said he wanted Ballard again evaluated to determine his competency. The judge appointed Dr. Frank Dattilio, a forensic psychologist from Salisbury, to evaluate Ballard's competency, despite his objections.
Giordano also appointed Ballard's trial attorneys, Michael Corriere and James Connell, to continue to represent him, and issued an order barring the Federal Community Defender Office in Philadelphia and other anti-death penalty lawyers from entering their appearances without permission of the court.