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.

Rose v. State

Florida Court of Appeals, Fourth District

June 6, 2018

AUGUSTUS ROSE, 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, Okeechobee County; Dan L. Vaughn, Judge; L.T. Case No. 472013CF000579A.

          Carey Haughwout, Public Defender, and Nancy Jack, Assistant Public Defender, West Palm Beach, for appellant.

          Pamela Jo Bondi, Attorney General, Tallahassee, and Mitchell A. Egber, Assistant Attorney General, West Palm Beach, for appellee.

          Forst, J.

         Appellant Augustus Rose appeals the denial of his motion to withdraw his plea and vacate his sentence, arguing that the trial court fundamentally erred in accepting his plea of nolo contendere without first holding a hearing to determine his competency. We agree and reverse and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

         Background

         Appellant was charged with burglary of a dwelling with assault or battery while armed, kidnapping with a weapon or firearm, abuse of a disabled adult, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. His defense counsel filed a motion to examine Appellant "on the issue of competence to proceed, " with an assertion that the motion was made "in good faith and on reasonable ground to believe that [Appellant] is incompetent to proceed." The trial court granted the motion.

         Nearly one year later, Appellant entered a "no contest" plea to all charges. On his Felony Plea Form, it was noted that Appellant was prescribed medication for "mental health." His counsel further informed the court that Appellant had been treated in the past for mental illness and, after Appellant's arrest, a psychological examination had been performed. However, there was no discussion with respect to the details of this evaluation at either the change of plea or sentencing hearings. When questioned as to whether Appellant had been "deemed competent and not insane at the time of the offense, " Appellant responded "[t]hat's what they said."

         At the sentencing hearing, more details regarding Appellant's mental health history were presented to the trial court. This was the first opportunity for the judge to review the mental competency examination report. In arguing for a bottom of the guidelines sentence, defense counsel made note that Appellant had been "Baker-acted";[1] received in-patient mental health treatment; continues to be prescribed medication; and, continues to have mental health issues. The trial court made no further inquiries regarding Appellant's present mental fitness at either the change of plea or sentencing hearing. Appellant was sentenced to forty years in prison.

         Subsequently, Appellant filed a motion pursuant to Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.170(f) to withdraw his plea. In asserting that Appellant's agreement to enter the no contest plea was involuntary, the motion notes the trial court had been informed of Appellant's "mental health issues" and prior "mental health commitment." It further alleged that, at the time Appellant entered the plea agreement, he was taking four different medications, each of which "have either a sedative, neurological or psychological effect on a person." A hearing was then held on Appellant's motion. There, the court denied the motion and rejected Appellant's claims that he was impaired at the time he entered his plea ("There is no showing that any of this medication he claims he was taking affected his ability to understand the proceedings."). Appellant's appeal follows, with the allegation that the trial court reversibly erred when it did not conduct a competency hearing and enter a written order regarding competency before accepting Appellant's change of plea.

         Analysis

         "The 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." Hawks v. State, 226 So.3d 892, 893 (Fla. 4th DCA 2017).

Once a trial court has reasonable grounds to believe the defendant is incompetent and orders an examination, it must hold a hearing, and it must enter a written order on the issue. See Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.210(b), 3.212(b). ...

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.