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Name: People v. Ary
Case #: A095433
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 05/20/2004
Subsequent History: Rev. den. 8/18/04

Where the trial court had before it substantial evidence that the developmentally-disabled defendant could not understand the nature of the proceedings or assist in his defense, the court’s failure to institute competency proceedings under Penal Code section 1368 deprived the defendant of his constitutional right to a fair trial. In litigating the admissibility of defendant’s pretrial statements to investigators, the defense had provided substantial information regarding defendant’s disability and his inability to understand the proceedings, including evidence that his IQ was between 45 and 59, that his academic abilities were in the range of early kindergarten levels, and that…

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Name: People v. Amonson
Case #: C043461
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 12/16/2003
Subsequent History: None

The trial court did not err in requiring a developmentally disabled defendant to remain in a locked facility for 180 days after he had been found not competent to stand trial. The defendant here was charged with two counts of gross vehicular manslaughter in connection with a drug-related car accident in which he also suffered serious injuries, including brain trauma. Due to concerns about defendant’s competency, proceedings were instituted under Penal Code section 1368. The experts appointed to examine the defendant agreed that he was not competent to stand trial. The prosecution petitioned for a hearing…

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Name: People v. Marks
Case #: S040575
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 07/24/2003
Subsequent History: None

The use of security personnel, placing a deputy sheriff next to appellant during his testimony, doe not require the manifest need standard as for shackling. Here, defendant had previously attacked his own attorney and had been disruptive in the courtroom. Prior to the start of trial, defense counsel had requested that he be subject to physical restraints, which had been denied. However, the court reconsidered the issue when defendant was to take the stand because of the proximity of the jury box to the witness stand (some 30 - 40 feet away). Evidence of defendant's competence…

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Name: People v. Jernigan
Case #: H025098
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 07/03/2003
Subsequent History: None

The court was not required to appoint a second attorney to oppose a finding of incompetency when defendant’s attorney voiced concerns over her client’s competency. Also, the trial court’s failure to obtain a personal waiver of defendant’s right to be present at the competency hearing did not violate his due process rights. Appellant had impliedly waived his right to be present when he said he would not cooperate with counsel or the doctors (and refused to be interviewed by them), and there was no evidence he was involuntarily excluded from the hearing. Moreover, there was no showing…

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Name: People v. Smith
Case #: F039752
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 07/11/2003
Subsequent History: None

Three days after the start of appellant's court trial for first degree murder of his wife, appellant was found incompetent to stand trial, causing a suspension of the criminal proceedings, which resumed later after competency had been restored. On appeal, appellant argued that his waiver of jury was not competently made, as his incompetency predated the suspension of criminal proceedings. The appellate court here affirmed. There is nothing in the record which suggests that appellant's mental status had deteriorated prior to the jury waiver, and nothing in the record of the waiver which suggests that appellant did…

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Name: Oregon Advocacy Center v. Mink
Case #: 02-35530
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 03/06/2003
Subsequent History: None

The refusal of the Oregon state mental hospital to timely receive for treatment those who had been found mentally incompetent to stand trial denied substantive and procedural due process. Continued custody in the county jails for weeks or months until a state hospital bed opened up did not fulfill the statutory obligation of "restorative treatment." The court upheld the order that the hospital accept a person found incompetent within 7 days of a finding of…

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Name: Pederson v. Superior Court
Case #: B155839
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 01/28/2003
Subsequent History: none.

Penal Code section 1367.1, which pertains to evaluations of misdemeanor defendants whom a judge believes to be incompetent to stand trial, is unconstitutional in that it deprives misdemeanor defendants equal protection of the law. The section requires that the defendant be referred for evaluation and treatment under section 4011.6, which incorporates the LPS act. A felony defendant is not required to undergo evaluation and treatment under LPS prior to a competency determination. There is no compelling state interest in requiring misdemeanor defendants suspected of incompetence to submit to an involuntary LPS evaluation when similarly situated felony defendants…

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Name: U.S. v. Timmins
Case #: 00-30224
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 07/17/2002
Subsequent History: None

Timmins was convicted of several counts of bank robbery and sentenced to 30 years in prison, following his refusal to consider a plea bargain which would have resulted in 12 years and which was strongly encouraged by counsel. Two mental health professionals concluded that given Timmins’ long history of psychosis and his delusional belief system, he did not have the ability to understand the significance of the plea agreement or the consequences of going to trial. Here, the appellate court reversed and remanded for a determination of whether Timmins’ decision to go to trial rather than to accept…

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Name: Baqleh v. Superior Court
Case #: A097680
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 07/23/2002
Subsequent History: Application for stay & Rev. denied 10/16/02.

In proceedings under Penal Code section 1368 to determine a defendant’s competency to stand trial, the court may order the defendant to submit to a mental examination by an expert designated by the prosecution. The defendant may not refuse to submit to such an examination based upon the Fifth Amendment due to a judicially declared rule of immunity which assures that the accused will not be convicted by use of information obtained at the examination, nor may such information or its fruits be used in sentencing. The same rule of judicial immunity similarly prevents appellant from…

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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…

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