Tallapoosa Circuit Court. CC-94-16. Dale Segrest, TRIAL JUDGE.
Released for Publication January 13, 1995.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Bowen
PETITION FOR WRIT OF MANDAMUS
This petition for a writ of mandamus, filed in this Court by Lewis Gaisden Cunningham, seeks to compel Judge Dale Segrest of the Circuit Court of Tallapoosa County, Alabama, to vacate his order committing Cunningham to the custody of the Alabama Department of Mental Health and Retardation. The petition is due to be granted.
The undisputed facts show that in May 1993 Cunningham was arrested for the unlawful possession of cocaine and for giving a false name to a law enforcement officer. He was arraigned and released on bond.
On April 4, 1994, defense counsel filed a motion for a court-ordered mental evaluation. On April 13, 1994, Judge Segrest granted that motion and ordered outpatient evaluation. On May 17, 1994, Cunningham was arrested and placed in the Tallapoosa County Jail pursuant to a writ of arrest issued by Judge Segrest because Cunningham failed to appear for the court-ordered outpatient mental evaluation.
Cunningham was given a mental evaluation at the Tallapoosa County Jail on May 25, 1994. The clinical psychologist, in his report of June 6, 1994, expressed "a serious but not necessarily a convincing question about his ability to stand trial" and recommended "that strong consideration be given to not allowing Mr. Cunningham to proceed with Disposition of the charges against him at this time."
On June 15, 1994, Judge Segrest ordered Cunningham committed to the Department of Mental Health and Retardation for treatment:
"Based upon the evidence and testimony presented, the Court finds there is evidence that the Defendant is incompetent to stand trial at the present time; however, there is no evidence which tends to show the defendant is a danger to himself or others.
"IT IS ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED that pursuant to Rule 11, Alabama Rules of Criminal Procedure, the Defendant is hereby committed to the Alabama Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation for treatment and that the defendant receive such treatment until such time as he is competent to stand trial on the charges presently pending. The Court shall receive reports from the professional staff of the Department and shall review this matter pursuant to Rule 11.
"Pending further order of the Court, the Defendant is to be held in the custody of the Sheriff of ...