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Weeks v. State

Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals

February 9, 2018

Gary Lynn Weeks
v.
State of Alabama

         Appeal from Lauderdale Circuit Court (CC-16-557)

          JOINER, JUDGE.

         Gary Lynn Weeks was convicted of attempted first-degree assault, see §§ 13A-4-2 and 13A-6-20, Ala. Code 1975, attempting to elude a law-enforcement officer, see § 13A-10-52, Ala. Code 1975, and reckless endangerment, see § 13A-6-24, Ala. Code 1975. Weeks was sentenced, as a habitual offender, to 22 years' imprisonment on the attempted-assault and attempting-to-elude convictions.[1] He was also sentenced to 12 months' imprisonment on the reckless-endangerment conviction. The Lauderdale Circuit Court ordered that those sentences were to run concurrently with each other. Weeks was also ordered to pay court costs, attorney fees, and a $150 crime-victims-compensation assessment.

         Facts and Procedural History

         Weeks does not challenge the sufficiency of the State's evidence. Thus, only a brief recitation of the facts underlying his convictions is necessary. On February 17, 2016, Weeks was driving down Megan Drive in Lauderdale County in a Ford Explorer sport-utility vehicle when Alabama State Trooper Jason Hewitt decided to pull him over after noticing that there was no license plate on the vehicle. According to State Trooper Hewitt, Weeks did not stop his vehicle. As State Trooper Hewitt pursued Weeks's vehicle, several other state troopers became involved in the pursuit. At one point, state troopers attempted to "box in" Weeks's vehicle. As they did so, Weeks re-entered the roadway and struck State Trooper Joe McDonald's patrol car. Following a second attempt to "box in" Weeks's vehicle, Weeks, once again, struck State Trooper McDonald's patrol car with his own vehicle. Weeks then lost control of his vehicle and spun out. State troopers were eventually able to "box in" Weeks's vehicle and bring it to a complete stop. Following a short pursuit on foot, Weeks was placed under arrest.

         On September 29, 2016, the Lauderdale County grand jury returned a four-count indictment against Weeks.[2] On October 26, 2016, Weeks was duly arraigned and entered pleas of not guilty to all four charges.

         On October 31, 2016, Weeks filed a motion for a mental evaluation to determine whether Weeks could assist in his own defense. At the hearing on the motion for a mental evaluation, the following exchange occurred:

"THE COURT: I had set this matter for a motion on [defense counsel's] mental eval[uation]. He'd filed it some time ago but I, you know, oftentimes it takes a while to get medical records. Have you been successful?
"[Defense counsel]: Yes, Your Honor. I do have some notes here from Riverbend mental health facility from several years ago involving Mr. Weeks's traumatic brain injury. If you will pay attention to Page 11 of 14 at the top. The medical records indicate a psychosis as well as a--it's kind of hard to read, Your Honor. Apparently it's a doctor or nurse writing that. And pay attention to poor impulse control, possible organic brain syndrome and several other indicators for a mental disease or defect. We do believe we've met our threshold about that.
"THE COURT: [Prosecutor], has the State had an opportunity to evaluate the records?
"[Prosecutor]: I'm familiar with the case and [Weeks] and as long as you feel like it meets the threshold, we have no objection.
"THE COURT: All right. I think it does. I'll get a mental evaluation. The motion is granted."

(Supp. R. 13-14 (emphasis added.))

         On January 25, 2017, the circuit court entered an order stating:

"This cause comes before the Court on [Weeks's] Motion for Mental Evaluation, and after hearing the same this date, the Court finds that the threshold has been met and orders as follows:
"....
"[Weeks] shall undergo an examination by a Certified Forensic Examiner to conduct a clinical evaluation of [Weeks's] competency to stand trial and mental state at the time of the alleged offense.
"....
"Further criminal proceedings against [Weeks] are hereby stayed until such time as the Court receives a completed report from the Certified Forensic Examiner."

(C. 66.)

         On February 21, 2017, the circuit court held a hearing at which Weeks, who was represented by advisory counsel, [3] made an oral motion to withdraw his motion for a mental evaluation.[4] The record shows that counsel advised against Weeks's withdrawal "based upon the evidence that I've seen." (Second Supp. R. 5.) The circuit court, however, granted the motion and permitted the proceedings against Weeks to go forward.

         On March 6, 2017, Weeks's jury trial began. Weeks was found guilty of attempted first-degree assault, see §§ 13A-4-2 and 13A-6-20, Ala. Code 1975, of attempting to elude a law-enforcement officer, see § 13A-10-52, Ala. Code 1975, and of reckless endangerment, see § 13A-6-24, Ala. Code 1975.[5 ...


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