Constitutional Law – Criminal Law – Power of Federal Government to Commit Mentally Incompetent Persons Charged with Federal Crimes

Petitioner was indicted for robbery from a United States Post Office. After a series of hearings and examinations, the district court found petitioner so mentally incompetent that he could not stand trial, and that, if released, he would probably endanger the safety of the officers, property, or other interests of the United States. The district court ordered petitioner committed to the custody of the Attorney General for confinement in a mental institution. This order was affirmed by the Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, one judge dissenting. On certiorari to the Supreme Court of the United States, held, affirmed. The petitioner was legally in the custody of the United States under its power to prosecute for federal crimes and this custody could continue even though there was little likelihood of petitioner’s eventual mental recovery and prosecution. Greenwood v. United States, 350 U.S. 821, 76 S.Ct. 410 (1956).