Former state Sen. Gene Stipe is ready to report to a federal prison hospital in Missouri for another evaluation of his mental competency, his lawyer said Thursday. Stipe, 81, will be taken to Springfield, Mo., by family members today, defense attorney Clark Brewster said. The former lawmaker was declared mentally incompetent last year and unable to face federal court proceedings tied to an attempt by prosecutors to revoke his probation in an election fraud case. But Stipe appealed U.S. District Judge Ronald H. White's ruling requiring him to report to the prison hospital last fall for up to four months. Further delays have been linked to Stipe's medical problems. Brewster said Stipe, who recently had surgery, had a medical checkup that went well on Wednesday and was ready to get the issue of his competency behind him. White wants to see if treatment can restore Stipe's competency enough to continue with the probation case. Brewster said Stipe's Missouri stay may not be long. "The determination is to be made by the doctor there as to whether he feels like there will be any signs his competency can be regained,” he said. "I wouldn't think it will take a great deal of time in light of the fact that he had a stay up there in the fall and that gave the doctor a head start into the evaluation. We're willing to trust in his judgment.”
Other charges he facesStipe has been charged with four felony counts linked to a corruption case that involves an alleged conspiracy to obtain state funding for private businesses. The ex-senator's brother, Francis, has pleaded guilty to the charges as part of a plea agreement that will allow him to escape prison time, if the agreement is accepted by the judge. Gene Stipe has undergone several surgeries in recent years to reduce excessive brain fluid. A neuropsychologist says the condition is the main reason for Stipe's symptoms of dementia.
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