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Name: Torres v. Prunty
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 09/08/2000
Subsequent History: None

A district court’s grant of habeas relief was affirmed where appellant was denied his right to a competency hearing pursuant to Penal Code section 1368 despite considerable evidence that he was not competent to stand trial. Trial counsel twice notified the court that her delusional client believed that she was “part of the conspiracy” against him, and “in cahoots” with the county hospital in which he had killed three physicians and taken another hostage. The trial court’s determination that no hearing was necessary was unreasonable. Appellant’s “unusual and self-defeating behavior” in the courtroom, combined with his beliefs about his counsel, were factors which also demonstrated that he was not able to assist in his defense.