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State v. McCurley

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Third Circuit

June 3, 2015

STATE OF LOUISIANA
v.
STEFFON MCCURLEY

APPEAL FROM THE FIFTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT, PARISH OF VERMILION, NO. 55750. HONORABLE DURWOOD WAYNE CONQUE, DISTRICT JUDGE.

Michael Harson, District Attorney, 15th Judicial Court, Lafayette, LA, COUNSEL FOR: Plaintiff/Appellee - State of Louisiana.

James Nathan Prather, Jr., Assistant District Attorney, Abbeville, LA, COUNSEL FOR: Plaintiff/Appellee - State of Louisiana.

Edward Kelly Bauman, Louisiana Appellate Project, Lake Charles, LA, COUNSEL FOR: Defendant/Appellant - Steffon McCurley.

Court composed of Ulysses Gene Thibodeaux, Chief Judge, Billy Howard Ezell, and Shannon J. Gremillion, Judges.

OPINION

Page 1233

[15-24 La.App. 3 Cir. 1] THIBODEAUX, Chief Judge.

Defendant, Steffon McCurley, was indicted for several criminal law violations after assaulting his mother in her home and pointing a gun at police. Before trial, Defendant requested a sanity commission for the evaluation of his mental capacity at the time of the offense, as well as his present capacity to proceed at trial. The motion was partially granted; the trial court ordered a commission to evaluate Defendant's capacity at the time of the offense. Prior to receiving the commission reports, Defendant entered a plea of " guilty" in exchange for a plea agreement. The plea was accepted, and a sentence of eighteen years at hard labor ordered.

Defendant appeals, alleging the trial court could not proceed and accept his plea because he alleged the lack of present mental capacity, thus requiring a contradictory hearing on the matter. We now review the trial court's correctness in proceeding after the sanity commission request, considering the mandate established in La.Code Crim.P. art. 642.[1] In accordance with the broad discretion given to the trial court in determining whether reasonable grounds exist to doubt a defendant's present capacity, and also finding

Page 1234

that Defendant's request to be evaluated for present capacity was unsupported, we affirm the conviction of the trial court.

[15-24 La.App. 3 Cir. 2] I.

ISSUES

We shall determine whether the trial court erred in accepting Defendant's guilty plea after requesting a sanity commission but prior to a contradictory ...


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