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Castillo v. State

Florida Court of Appeals, Fourth District

April 18, 2018

JORGE CASTILLO, Appellant,
v.
STATE OF FLORIDA, Appellee.

         Not final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.

          Appeal from the Circuit Court for the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit, Broward County; L.T. Case No. 13007022 CF10A Elizabeth Scherer, Judge;

          Jonathan Smulevich and Ronald S. Lowy of Lowy and Cook, P.A., Miami, for appellant.

          Pamela Jo Bondi, Attorney General, Tallahassee, and Don M. Rogers, Assistant Attorney General, West Palm Beach, for appellee.

          Gerber, C.J.

         The defendant raises several arguments following his open guilty plea to multiple counts arising from his multimillion dollar enterprise of trafficking contraband prescription drugs. Based on the state's concession of error on two of the defendant's arguments, we reverse the defendant's conviction on one count, and remand for resentencing on another count. On the defendant's remaining arguments relating to his alleged lack of competency to enter the plea, we affirm. We write primarily to address the competency arguments.

         Procedural History

         A nine-count information charged the defendant and five others with several crimes. The defendant was charged in eight of the nine counts: trafficking in contraband drugs (count one), conspiracy to traffic contraband prescription drugs (count two), organized scheme to defraud (count three), and five counts of money laundering (counts five through nine). The defendant was not charged in count four.

          1. The Plea Colloquy

         The defendant entered an open guilty plea to the eight counts with which he was charged. During the circuit court's plea colloquy, the following exchange occurred:

COURT: Are you currently under the influence of any alcohol, drugs, or prescription medication?
DEFENDANT: Yes.
COURT: Okay. What do you take, sir?
DEFENDANT: I'm taking a prescription for my mental health for brain contusions. . . .
COURT: . . . Have you been diagnosed with a mental illness?
DEFENDANT: I have an accident in 2011 where I hit my head . . . . After that, I was in a coma. And a lot of problems come after that to me.
COURT: Okay. Has a doctor diagnosed you with something specific?
DEFENDANT: . . . I have depression, I been having a lot of problems. I been seeing a psychologist, a psychiatrist.
. . . .
COURT: How do you feel today?
. . . .
DEFENDANT: Since I have the accident, I have a lot of problems. I get confused. I need to see my doctor about it. I no see my doctor for three years, my neurologist.
. . . .
COURT: Okay. What I'm trying to figure out is if you can make an intelligent and knowing waiver of your rights. And based upon your answers, I can't make that finding because I don't understand your answers. So the question is how do you feel today?
DEFENDANT: Feel fine.
COURT: Okay. Are any symptoms of mental illness, any of your depression or any of those ...

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