Dorothy June Brown, 77, has some problems remembering dates, her age, the year, and where she went to school, but a forensic psychologist said she is competent to be retried on charges that she defrauded the charter schools she founded of $6.3 million.
Christine Anthony, who examined Brown in Texas last fall, gave that assessment via videoconference Thursday, the second day of Brown's competency hearing in federal court.
Anthony said she interviewed Brown four times during her court-ordered monthlong stay at the Federal Medical Center Carswell in Fort Worth.
As part of her review, the psychologist said, she considered the opinions of four other experts who had examined Brown earlier. Anthony said she disagreed with Barbara Malamut, a defense psychologist, who said Brown had cognitive impairment that would prevent her from assisting the defense during her retrial.
"It is my opinion that she doesn't meet the criteria for having a mental illness," Anthony said.
Todd N. Hutchinson, one of Brown's attorneys, faulted Anthony for not quizzing Brown about the details of her case, especially after she incorrectly described some of the counts.
Anthony conceded she had not gone point-by-point through the 44 charges Brown is facing but said she had discussed the general outlines of the case with her. Based on those conversations, Anthony said, she felt Brown understood the charges.
In rebuttal, Stephen Mechanick, a defense psychiatrist who examined Brown last summer, said that Anthony and the other two experts who evaluated Brown for the court should have paid more attention to Malamut's diagnosis.
He also said Brown's mental lapses were symptoms of cognitive impairment: She did not know her age and had trouble with the birthdays of her husband and daughter. She told hospital staff in Fort Worth she did not know where she was and thought she might be in Washington.
And Mechanick thought it was "pretty profound" that Brown could not name the charters she had founded.
Prosecutors allege Brown had engaged in a complex scheme of fabricated documents and forged signatures on contracts that benefited her or her two education-management firms.
The retrial was scheduled after jurors acquitted her last January on six counts and deadlocked, 6-3, in favor of conviction on dozens of others.