STATEMATTHEW V. HAWKS, Appellant,
STATE OF FLORIDA, Appellee.
final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.
from the Circuit Court for the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit,
Indian River County; Cynthia L. Cox, Judge; L.T. Case No.
Haughwout, Public Defender, and Alan T. Lipson, Assistant
Public Defender, West Palm Beach, for appellant.
Jo Bondi, Attorney General, Tallahassee, and Joseph D.
Coronato, Jr., Assistant Attorney General, West Palm Beach,
Defendant appeals his conviction and sentence, arguing the
court erred when it failed to conduct a hearing and issue a
written order determining his competency after previously
finding reasonable grounds to question his competence. We
agree, vacate the conviction and sentence, and remand for
2014, the State charged the Defendant by information with
making a false report of placing a bomb or other deadly
explosive with the intent to deceive. He pled no contest, and
the court withheld adjudication and placed him on probation
for five years.
the special conditions of his probation prohibited him from
"accessing the Internet or other computer services with
Internet access." After he accessed Facebook during his
probationary period, the State issued an affidavit of
violation of probation.
occasions his counsel moved for a competency determination
and asked for a court-appointed physician to examine him. The
court granted both motions, but the record does not contain
any medical evaluations nor any indication as to what the
Defendant's medical evaluations may have revealed.
only reference to the Defendant's competency found in the
record occurred during a change of plea hearing when the
court asked him if he was taking any medication. The
Defendant responded that he was taking "like six"
psychotropic medications. The court noted the Defendant's
prior mental health issues and then asked defense counsel
whether there was an evaluation of the Defendant and whether
he was competent. Counsel responded affirmatively to both
questions. After this brief inquiry, the court accepted the
change of plea and entered judgment against the Defendant.
The court sentenced him to ten years in prison followed by
two years of community control. This appeal followed.
procedure for determining a defendant's competency is
governed by Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure 3.210 through
3.215. We review the court's judgment and its compliance
with these rules de novo. Baker v. State,
42 Fla.L.Weekly D1257 (Fla. 4th DCA May 31, 2017) (citation
Rule 3.210, "once 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
(Fla. 4th DCA 2011) (citing Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.210-3.212).
The court's obligation is triggered upon its initial
finding that occurs when it enters an order appointing an
expert to evaluate a defendant's competency.
Id.; see also Moorer v. State, 187 So.3d
315, 317 (Fla. 1st DCA 2016). Rule 3.210 is clear and is
designed to "safeguard a defendant's due process