final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.
from the Circuit Court for the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit,
St. Lucie County; Robert E. Belanger, Judge; L.T. Case No.
Haughwout, Public Defender, and Benjamin Eisenberg, Assistant
Public Defender, West Palm Beach, for appellant.
Jo Bondi, Attorney General, Tallahassee, and Mitchell A.
Egber, Assistant Attorney General, West Palm Beach, for
Edna Baker filed a pretrial motion for a hearing and
appointment of an expert to evaluate her competency. The
trial court thereafter entered an order appointing a doctor
for an evaluation. Although Florida Rule of Criminal
Procedure 3.210(b) requires a trial court to hold a
competency hearing within twenty days of being presented with
reasonable grounds to question a defendant's competency,
appellant waived that requirement in her pretrial motion.
Defense counsel never scheduled a competency hearing, and the
record does not reflect that one was ever conducted. The case
proceeded to trial, and appellant was convicted of burglary
of a dwelling and grand theft of a dwelling. Because the
record does not show that there was a determination of
appellant's competency at the time of trial, we remand
for further proceedings.
motion to evaluate competency, appellant's counsel
asserted there were "reasonable grounds to believe that
[appellant] is incompetent to proceed." The motion also
stated that appellant "hereby waives the required 20 day
hearing pursuant to Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.210(b)."
days later, the trial court entered an order requiring the
examination of appellant's competency and an assessment
of recommended treatment. The order appointed a doctor to
examine appellant, and provided:
If the Doctor is appointed for the purpose of determining
competency, pursuant to Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.210(b), a hearing
shall [be] held within 20 days of the filing of this motion.
The Defendant hereby waives this provision and shall
schedule a competency hearing pursuant to the Florida Rules
of Criminal Procedure should it become necessary, with notice
to the State and Court.
(Emphasis in original). Without ever conducting a hearing on
competency, the case was tried and appellant was convicted
and sentenced to fifteen years in prison. This appeal
asserts that the trial court reversibly erred by failing to
conduct a competency hearing within twenty days of ordering a
competency evaluation as required by Florida Rule of Criminal
Procedure 3.210(b), despite appellant's explicit waiver
of such a hearing in her motion for the evaluation.
issue of "[w]hether the circuit court fundamentally
erred in failing to hold a competency hearing presents a pure
question of law subject to de novo review."
A.L.Y. v. State, 212 So.3d 399, 402 (Fla. 4th DCA
procedure for determining a defendant's competency is
outlined in Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.210(b),
(b) Motion for Examination. If, at any
material stage of a criminal proceeding, the court of its own
motion, or on motion of counsel for the defendant or for the
state, has reasonable ground to believe that the
defendant is not mentally competent to proceed, the
court shall immediately enter its order setting a time for a
hearing to determine the defendant's mental condition,
which shall be held no later than 20 days after the
date of the filing of the motion, and may order the defendant
to be examined by no more than 3 experts, as needed, prior ...