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.

Davis v. State

Florida Court of Appeals, First District

August 13, 2019

James Farrell Davis Jr., Appellant,
v.
State of Florida, Appellee.

         Not final until disposition of any timely and authorized motion under Fla. R. App. P. 9.330 or 9.331.

          On appeal from the Circuit Court for Walton County. Kelvin C. Wells, Judge.

          Andy Thomas, Public Defender, and David Alan Henson, Assistant Public Defender, Tallahassee, for Appellant.

          Ashley Moody, Attorney General, and Anne C. Conley, Assistant Attorney General, Tallahassee, for Appellee.

          Per Curiam.

         James Farrell Davis Jr. was charged with and convicted of several offenses arising out an altercation with his neighbors over his missing dogs. He raises five issues in this appeal from his judgment and sentences, three of which have merit and are discussed below. We reject his other arguments without further comment.

         At the outset, we address Davis' claim that the trial court committed fundamental error by failing to conduct an adequate competency hearing before ruling on whether his competency to stand trial had been restored. Davis was arrested in the summer of 2014 in connection with this case. After appointing an expert for a competency evaluation, the trial court determined that Davis was incompetent to proceed.

         Roughly two years later, on February 27, 2017, a Florida State Hospital psychologist concluded that Davis no longer met the criteria for involuntary commitment. After reviewing the psychologist's report, the court entered an order on March 28, 2017, declaring that Davis had regained his competency.[*] But about a month later, the court issued a separate order appointing a different psychologist to evaluate Davis' competency. That expert issued her report a few weeks later and recommended that Davis be found competent to proceed. On June 6, 2017, the court conducted a brief status hearing. The transcript of that hearing reads as follows:

Court: James Davis.
Defense: Your Honor, Mr. Davis' report came back as well and I would like to set him for August as well.
State: We would ask for July, Judge.
Court: Yeah, he's been around a long time. June 22 pretrial.

         The record contains a case disposition report dated June 6 and signed by the deputy clerk with a handwritten note that Davis was "competent to proceed." Davis proceeded to trial and was ultimately convicted and sentenced for attempted first-degree premeditated murder; burglary of a dwelling while armed with a firearm; shooting at, into, or within a building; and aggravated assault by threat with a firearm.

         "Once 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). A proper hearing to determine whether competency has been restored generally requires "the calling of court-appointed expert witnesses designated under Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.211, a determination of competence to proceed, and the entry of an order finding competence." Dougherty v. State, 149 So.3d 672, 677 (Fla. 2014) (quoting Jones v. State, 125 So.3d 982, 983-84 (Fla. 4th DCA 2013)). While the parties and the court can agree to decide the issue of competency based on the experts' reports without receiving testimony, the court must regard the reports as advisory only. Id. at 678. The court cannot dispense with its duty to make an ...


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.