Ron Hirsch, the man accused of detonating a pipe bomb last spring at the Chabad House Lubavitch of Santa Monica, is awaiting a psychiatric evaluation that a judge will use to determine whether to force Hirsch to take medication.
The so-called Sell hearing was scheduled to take place Friday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, but the psychiatrist picked by Hirsch has not been able visit Hirsch at the Metropolitan Detention Center to conduct an examination, according defense attorney Robert Little.
On Friday, Judge Manuel Real continued the Sell hearing to July 24 and delayed the trial by six months to Jan. 9, 2013.
“Dr. Matthew Carroll, the psychiatrist chosen by defendant for purposes of conducting the Sell Hearing, has not yet been able to examine and evaluate defendant due to the time in which applications to visit inmates are processed by the Metropolitan Detention Center,” Little wrote in his request for additional time.
Earlier evaluations by the Bureau of Prisons have found Hirsch incompetent to stand trial. He has been hospitalized since his arrest in April.
In the 2003 court case Sell vs. United States, the Supreme Court ruled that a criminal defendant may be forcefully medicated for the sole purposes of rendering him competent to stand trial. Before a defendant can be medicated, however, the courts have to find that there won't be any serious side effects, among other criteria.
Hirsch was indicted May 3 of last year on charges stemming from an incident April 7, when a pipe bomb exploded from inside a trash can outside the Chabad House at 1428 17th St. The explosion launched the steel pipe into the side of the Chabad House before it landed on the roof of a nearby home.
Authorities found and arrested Hirsch at a synagogue in Cleveland Heights, OH. He was charged with use of an explosive to commit a federal felony, use of a destructive device during a crime of violence and possession of an unregistered destructive device. If convicted on all counts, he faces a minimum sentence of 45 years in prison.