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Yancy v. State

Florida Court of Appeals, Fifth District

September 27, 2019

BRENDA FAY YANCY, Appellant,
v.
STATE OF FLORIDA, Appellee.

         NOT FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE MOTION FOR REHEARING AND DISPOSITION THEREOF IF FILED

          Appeal from the Circuit Court for Seminole County, Melissa D. Souto, Judge.

          James S. Purdy, Public Defender, and Nancy Ryan, Assistant Public Defender, Daytona Beach, for Appellant.

          Ashley Moody, Attorney General, Tallahassee, and Rebecca Rock McGuigan, Assistant Attorney General, Daytona Beach, for Appellee.

          COHEN, J.

         Judges are tasked with making independent determinations of competency. Dougherty v. State, 149 So.3d 672, 679 (Fla. 2014). That is the sole issue raised in this appeal; Brenda Yancy argues that the record is insufficient to demonstrate that the trial court conducted an independent assessment of her competency. We agree and remand for a nunc pro tunc competency determination, if possible.

         The facts in Dougherty are similar to the facts of this case. Both Dougherty and Yancy were found incompetent to proceed and were committed for treatment. Id. at 673– 74. Purportedly restored to competency, both were returned to face their pending charges. Id. at 674.

         Dougherty's counsel, relying on three experts' evaluations, stipulated to Dougherty's competency to proceed. The trial court, without more, responded, "Very good. We'll put it on just the regular docket sounding then." Id.

Yancy's case proceeded in a similar fashion:
DEFENSE COUNSEL: [W]e have an issue we have to address. The competency, she was never formally found competent to proceed since being returned from the state hospital. We've asked to introduce Defendant's Exhibit A into evidence, it's the evaluation, I'm not sure if Your Honor has previously read it finding her competent to proceed. I've spoken to her on numerous occasions since she was brought back [from] the state hospital. It's my opinion as well that she's able to understand the legal process at this point.
STATE: We'd stipulate to that evaluation, Your Honor.
THE COURT: All right. So it will be entered as I guess Defense's Exhibit One.
STATE: We'd agree, Judge. We'd ask the court to find her competent to ...

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