Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Zieler v. State

Florida Court of Appeals, Fourth District

May 31, 2017

COURTNEY DESMOND ZIELER, Appellant,
v.
STATE OF FLORIDA, Appellee.

         Not final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit, Martin County; Steven J. Levin, Judge; L.T. Case No. 43-2014-CF-380.

          Antony P. Ryan, Director, and Paul O'Neil, Assistant Regional Counsel of Office of Criminal Conflict and Civil Regional Counsel, West Palm Beach, for appellant.

          Pamela Jo Bondi, Attorney General, Tallahassee, and Kimberly T. Acuna, Assistant Attorney General, West Palm Beach, for appellee.

          May, J.

         The defendant appeals his conviction and sentence for resisting without violence, burglary of a dwelling, and third degree grand theft. He argues the trial court erred in three ways: (1) failing to rule on his competency; (2) denying his motion for judgment of acquittal; and (3) instructing the jury on recently stolen property. We find merit in his argument that the trial court erred in failing to rule on a pending competency issue, but no merit in the remaining issues. We reverse and remand.

         The State charged the defendant with grand theft auto, burglary of a dwelling, and resisting an officer without violence. While the charges were pending, the defendant moved for a competency examination. Defense counsel argued the defendant had a documented intellectual disability, was unable to describe the role of a judge or jury, was unable to provide pertinent facts, and did not appreciate the nature of the possible penalties. The court granted the motion.

         Within the order, the court named an evaluator and requested a report be submitted to the court. At a later status hearing, the court minutes note that the competency issue was addressed, but the record fails to reflect that the competency evaluation had been conducted or a report received.

         A new judge presided at the following status hearing, and a new prosecutor appeared for the State. The same defense counsel, who filed the motion for competency evaluation, represented the defendant throughout trial and sentencing.

         The record fails to reflect that either judge ruled on the competency issue.

         The defendant was convicted. The trial court sentenced the defendant to twenty years in prison. From his conviction and sentence, the defendant appeals.

         The defendant argues the trial court erred in failing to determine his competency after having reasonable grounds to do so. While the trial court ordered an evaluation, no report was ever filed and no hearing was conducted. The State responds that the trial court granted the defendant's request for a competency evaluation. It suggests that the hearing may have taken place, but concedes we should remand for a retroactive determination of competency, if possible.

         We have de novo review. Presley v. State, 199 So.3d 1014, 1017 (Fla. 4th DCA 2016).

         "[O]nce a trial court has reasonable grounds to believe that a criminal defendant is not competent to proceed, it has no choice but to conduct a competency hearing." Monte v. State, 51 So.3d 1196, 1202 ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.