Denver, CO asked in Criminal Law, Civil Rights, Gov & Administrative Law and Legal Malpractice for Colorado

Q: Can a competency hearing be scheduled when a motion hasn't yet been filed? Also,should it be on public docket website?

Docket search is how I found out, my public defender asked for this hearing 8 days ago and it's scheduled for this week, 13 days before commencement of my trial. But when I asked what her concerns were, she told me yesterday she had not filed the motion for it yet, and didn't give a clear answer to my question... Can I file a motion to have her evaluated as well?? Just kidding. But what should I do with this matter? In Colorado.

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: In the legal process, it is possible for a competency hearing to be scheduled before a formal motion is filed, especially if the court or your defense attorney anticipates the need for such a hearing. This may occur in instances where concerns about a defendant's ability to understand the proceedings or to assist in their own defense become apparent to the court or the defense team. The scheduling and the timing of this hearing relative to the trial date aim to ensure that the defendant's competency is adequately assessed before proceeding with the trial. It is also common for hearings and motions to be listed on the public docket website, as court proceedings are typically matters of public record unless sealed or otherwise restricted by the court.

If you discovered the scheduling of a competency hearing through a docket search and your public defender has not yet filed a motion but requested the hearing, it might be part of a strategic legal process. Your attorney should explain the rationale behind their actions and how they believe it serves your best interests. Communication is key in the attorney-client relationship, so expressing your concerns and seeking clarity on decisions affecting your case is essential. It's understandable that the situation may feel unsettling, especially so close to your trial date, but these actions are often taken with the goal of ensuring a fair trial.

Regarding your question about what to do in this situation, it's crucial to have a candid discussion with your public defender about your concerns and the reasons behind the request for a competency hearing. If you feel your questions are not being answered satisfactorily, you might consider discussing your case with another attorney for a second opinion. While your joke about filing a motion to have your public defender evaluated reflects your frustration, it's important to address these concerns directly and professionally to resolve any misunderstandings and to ensure your defense is as effective as possible. Remember, your defense team is there to support you, so keeping the lines of communication open is vital.

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