ANTOINE L. BYNUM, Appellant,
STATE OF FLORIDA, Appellee.
FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE MOTION FOR REHEARING AND
DISPOSITION THEREOF IF FILED
from the Circuit Court for Orange County, Marc L. Lubet,
S. Purdy, Public Defender, and Kathryn Rollison Radtke,
Assistant Public Defender, Daytona Beach, for Appellant.
Jo Bondi, Attorney General, Tallahassee, and Carmen F.
Corrente, Assistant Attorney General, Daytona Beach, for
Antoine L. Bynum, appeals his judgment and sentence following
a jury trial where he was convicted of murdering Remmi
Goyens. Appellant argues that the trial court committed
fundamental error when it failed to "make an independent
determination of the Appellant's competency." We
agree and reverse for a nunc pro tunc competency hearing. We
Proceedings in this Case
April 26, 2015, the day before trial was initially scheduled,
Appellant's counsel filed a notice of incompetency. As a
result, the trial court held a competency hearing, and after
considering the reports of two court-appointed experts, found
Appellant incompetent to proceed and committed him to the
Department of Children and Families (DCF) for treatment at
the state hospital under Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure
August 31, 2015, mental health professionals at the North
Florida Evaluation and Treatment Center filed a report
representing that Appellant's competency had been
restored. At defense counsel's request, the
trial court once again appointed an expert to evaluate
Appellant under Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure
trial court then held a competency hearing on October 22,
2015. However, no evidence was received at the hearing.
Rather, Appellant's counsel conveyed to both the State
and the trial court that the expert had found Appellant
competent to proceed. Even though it had not yet reviewed the
expert's report, the court found Appellant competent to
proceed "based on the accord of [the expert], and based
on . . . the stipulations of the State and Defense."
case then proceeded to trial on August 8, 2016, where
Appellant admitted that he killed the victim but raised an
insanity defense. The jury convicted Appellant of the
lesser-included offense of second-degree murder.
Law: Competency to Proceed
criminal prosecution may not move forward at any material
stage of a criminal proceeding against a defendant who is
incompetent to proceed." McCray v. State, 71
So.3d 848, 862 (Fla. 2011) (quoting Caraballo v.
State, 39 So.3d 1234, 1252 (Fla. 2010) (citing
Medina v. California, 505 U.S. 437, 439 (1992)));
see also Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.210(a). A "material
stage" includes the trial, pretrial hearings on factual
issues where the defendant might testify, entry of a plea,
contempt hearings, violation of probation hearings,
sentencing, and "other matters where the mental
competence of the defendant is necessary for a just
resolution of the issues being considered." Fla. R.
Crim. P. 3.210(a)(1).
found incompetent, a presumption clings to the criminal
defendant that the state of incompetence persists until a
court, after proper notice and a hearing, finds
otherwise." Molina v. State,946 So.2d 1103,
1105 (Fla. 5th DCA 2006) (citing Jackson v. State,880 So.2d 1241, 1242 (Fla. 1st DCA 2004); Sledge v.
State,871 So.2d 1020 (Fla. 5th DCA 2004)). "Until
the presumption of continued incompetence dissipates, the
criminal defendant may not be tried for the crimes for which
he or she is charged. Violation of this principle constitutes
fundamental error[, ]" Id. at 1105-06 (citing
Jackson), which may be raised for the first time on
appeal. See also Sheheane v. State,228 So.3d 1178,
1181 (Fla. 1st DCA 2017) ...