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State v. Carey

Florida Court of Appeals, Third District

January 11, 2017

The State of Florida, Appellant,
v.
Christine Carey, Appellee.

          Not final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.

          An Appeal from the Circuit Court for Miami-Dade County Lower Tribunal No. 12-20525, Miguel de la O, Judge.

          Pamela Jo Bondi, Attorney General, and Jeffrey R. Geldens, Assistant Attorney General, for appellant.

          Carlos J. Martinez, Public Defender, and John Eddy Morrison, Assistant Public Defender, for appellee.

          Before WELLS, LAGOA and SALTER, JJ.

          WELLS, Judge.

          The State appeals from an order terminating jurisdiction, discharging Appellee and dismissing the pending criminal case against Appellee, on a finding that Appellee could not be restored to competency and that further review by the court would be futile. We agree with the State that Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.213(a)(1) precludes dismissal of the criminal case at this time and for that reason reverse in part the order under review.

         The underlying facts are relatively undisputed. Appellee is an elderly woman who suffers from advancing dementia which is irreversible. The charges against her stem from an aggravated battery on a pregnant woman.

         Over a period of three years, Appellee has been evaluated by a number of experts all of whom agree she will never be restored to competency. The State does not disagree with these determinations and no determination of competency restoration has been ordered by the court. In fact, Appellee was conditionally released in 2013 to her family which continues to care for her and to do everything possible to protect others from her.

         Essentially concluding that Appellee's physical condition, as well as her mental status, makes Appellee no threat to the public and that continued court supervision would be futile and a waste of judicial resources, the court below terminated further court ordered supervision or care and then dismissed the criminal action against her.

          While the State does not take issue with the former determination it claims that the court below erred in determining that a lack of restorability to competency supports dismissal of the criminal action. We agree.

         Rule 3.213(a)(1) generally provides that charges "shall" be dismissed against an individual charged with a felony who remains incompetent for five years; who does not meet the criteria for commitment; and, who has "no substantial probability" of having competency restored:

         (a) Dismissal without Prejudice during Continuing Incompetency.

(1) If at any time after 5 years following a determination that a person is incompetent to stand trial or proceed with a probation or community control violation hearing when charged with a felony, or 1 year when charged with a misdemeanor, the court, after hearing, determines that the defendant remains incompetent to stand trial or proceed with a probation or community control violation hearing, that there is no substantial probability that the defendant will become mentally competent to stand trial or proceed with a probation or community control violation hearing in the foreseeable future, and that the defendant does not meet the criteria for commitment, it shall ...

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