Wednesday, April 11, 2012

People v. Baker (Cal. Ct. App. - April 11, 2012)

The question is whether Lennett Baker is a mentally disordered offender.

The sole witness for the People is Dr. Kathi Studden, who interviewed Ms. Baker and reviewed her file.  "Dr. Studden testified that Baker was serving a three-year sentence for arson of an inhabited structure. . . . Dr. Studden testified that the reports indicated that Baker had first told her brother that a bomb had gone off in the house and later told investigators that demons had set the fire and that they would be able to see that because 'they' have cameras in the room watching her. . . . She testified that Baker had 'very prominent delusions' of grandeur and paranoia. About two months before the interview, Baker had typed a 10-page letter which contained a lot of paranoid ideation, including that she had patented cell phones and that China wanted her to be released so she could go work for them, that the 'White Lords of Bakersfield' were in charge, that people were watching her, and that someone had killed her son."

The sole witness for Ms. Baker was Ms. Baker herself.  She started out pretty good:  "She testified that she had received her real estate license at the age of 21 and got her broker‟s license at the age of 23. In 1982, she graduated from Bakersfield College with an AA degree in computer information systems and accounting. In 1984, she graduated from Cal Poly Pomona with an engineering degree. She also attended ITT Tech and graduated in 1983."  Sounds pretty normal.

And then:  "Baker denied that she had ever spoken to Dr. Studden. She said that when she arrived for her evaluation, her roommate was talking to Dr. Studden and pretending to be her. (Dr. Studden denied having spoken to Baker's roommate and identified Baker as the person she evaluated.) . . . . Defendant testified that she had not deliberately set a fire at her mother's house. . . . Baker said that the [] fire . . . was later that same day and that she had had nothing to do with it. She said that she had been arrested that day, and while she was in custody, she saw the house fire being reported on the 10:00 o'clock news. She also said when she was later contacted by the police, they said that someone wanted to harm her. They told her it would be best if she came in. . . .

Baker testified that she had invented some technology which, she had been told, was profound and would have global impact. She was not being acknowledged "because of my color and ownership of this technology." On the day of the fire, she was getting ready to go see someone about her technology. She was told that no one would be permitted to have ownership of such technology, especially a Black person, "because it would give other [B]lacks [the] idea that they have superior capabilities as of [W]hites; therefore, they are never going to let me out."

Baker testified that three days before the fire, some police officers came to her house. She had accessed the Bakersfield Police Department computer in reference to the White Lords of Bakersfield, a group that had written about how they were going to lock up colored people using the MDO program to incarcerate innocent people. She said she found out that inside the police department, there is a cult which states that they are children of Satan and worship demonistic things."

It's unclear which testimony was worse for Ms. Baker:  Dr. Studden's or her own testimony.

She stays inside.  Affirmed.