Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourth District, San Antonio
the 289th Judicial District Court, Bexar County, Texas Trial
Court No. CM2010JUV02006 Honorable Daphne Previti Austin,
Angelini, Justice, Luz Elena D. Chapa, Justice, Irene Rios,
J.P. appeals from the trial court's order revoking his
community supervision and sentencing him to eight years'
imprisonment. J.P. contends the trial court erred by failing
to sua sponte hold an informal competency
hearing. The trial court's judgment is affirmed.
December 2010, the juvenile court found J.P. engaged in
delinquent conduct by committing the offense of indecency
with a child, and following a disposition hearing, the
juvenile court placed J.P. on juvenile community supervision
for eight years. In June 2012, the juvenile court transferred
J.P.'s juvenile community supervision to the district
court, and J.P. continued community supervision as an adult.
In February 2015, the State filed a Motion to Revoke (MTR)
J.P.'s community supervision, and in November 2015, filed
an amended MTR, alleging J.P. violated several conditions of
his community supervision. The trial court held a hearing on
the amended MTR in January 2016, during which J.P. pleaded
true to three violations. During the June 9, 2016, sentencing
hearing, the trial court revoked J.P.'s community
supervision and sentenced J.P. to eight years'
J.P. perfected this appeal.
of Review and Applicable Law
defendant is presumed competent to stand trial and shall be
found competent to stand trial unless proved incompetent by a
preponderance of the evidence. Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Ann.
art. 46B.003(b) (West 2015). A defendant is not competent to
stand trial if he lacks (1) a sufficient present ability to
consult with his attorney with a reasonable degree of
rational understanding or (2) a rational as well as factual
understanding of the proceedings against him. Id.
legislative criteria for competency contemplate a defendant
who is at least minimally able to interact with his trial
counsel in a 'reasonable and rational' way (even if
they do not necessarily agree) in formulating decisions how
most effectively to pursue, his defense." Turner v.
State, 422 S.W.3d 676, 689-90 (Tex. Crim. App. 2013).
"Under our current statutory scheme, any
'suggestion' of incompetency to stand trial calls for
an 'informal inquiry' to determine whether evidence
exists to justify a formal competency trial."
Id. at 691-92 (footnote omitted); see Tex.
Code Crim. Proc. Ann. art. 46B.004(c), (c-1) (West 2015). The
issue of a defendant's competency can be raised by any
party by filing a motion or by the trial court on its own
motion. See id. art. 46B.004.
suggestion of incompetency may be based on the trial
court's observations related to the defendant's
capacity to: rationally understand the charges against him
and the potential consequences of the pending criminal
proceedings; disclose to counsel pertinent facts, events, and
states of mind; engage in a reasoned choice of legal
strategies and options; understand the adversarial nature of
criminal proceedings; exhibit appropriate courtroom behavior;
and testify. Id. art. 46B.024(1) (West Supp. 2015),
or "on any other indication that the defendant is
incompetent [to stand trial] within the meaning of Article
46B.003." Id. art 46B.004(c-1).
making this determination, a trial court must consider only
that evidence tending to show incompetency, 'putting
aside all competing indications of competency, to find
whether there is some evidence, a quantity more than none or
a scintilla, that rationally may lead to a conclusion of
incompetency.'" Turner, 422 S.W.3d at 692
(quoting Ex parte LaHood, 401 S.W.3d 45, 52-53 (Tex.
Crim. App. 2013)). "If so, then 'evidence exists to
support a finding of incompetency, ' and the statutory
scheme requires the trial court to conduct a formal
competency trial." Id. at 692-93 (quoting Tex.
Code Crim. Proc. Ann. art. 46B.005(a) (West 2006)).
review a trial court's decision not to sua
sponte hold an informal inquiry into a defendant's
competency for an abuse of discretion. Moore v.
State, 999 S.W.2d 385, 393 (Tex. Crim. App. 1999). A
trial court abuses its discretion if its decision is
arbitrary or unreasonable. Id.