Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

People v. Howell

California Court of Appeals, Fifth District

December 10, 2019

THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent,
v.
RONNIE EARL HOWELL, SR., Defendant and Appellant.

         CERTIFIED FOR PARTIAL PUBLICATION [*]

          APPEAL from an order of the Superior Court of Fresno County No. F18902563. Jonathan M. Skiles, Judge.

          Conness Thompson, under appointment by the Court of Appeal, for Defendant and Appellant.

          Xavier Becerra, Attorney General, Michael P. Farrell, Assistant Attorney General, Kimberley A. Donohue and R. Todd Marshall, Deputy Attorneys General, for Plaintiff and Respondent.

          OPINION

          FRANSON, J.

         THE COURT

         INTRODUCTION

         Appellant Ronnie Earl Howell, Sr., contends the trial court order authorizing the involuntary administration of antipsychotic medication is not supported by substantial evidence and must be reversed. In an issue of first impression, Howell also contends that Senate Bill No. 1187 (2017-2018 Reg. Sess.) (Sen. Bill 1187) is retroactive and the maximum term of commitment for restoration of his competency should be reduced from three to two years.

         We conclude substantial evidence supports the order for involuntary administration of antipsychotic medication. In the published portion of this opinion, we also conclude that Sen. Bill 1187 is not retroactive.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL SUMMARY

         The Fresno County District Attorney filed a complaint in case No. F18902563 (case No. 563) on April 17, 2018. The complaint charged Howell in count 1 with felony driving under the influence of alcohol (Veh. Code, § 23152, subd. (a)); in count 2 with driving with an elevated blood alcohol level (Veh. Code, § 23152, subd. (b)); and in count 3 with hit and run driving (Veh. Code, § 20002, subd. (a)). Vehicle Code section 23550.5, subdivision (a) enhancements, alleging a prior Vehicle Code section 23152, subdivision (b) conviction, were alleged as to counts 1 and 2. It also was alleged that Howell had suffered numerous prior felony convictions and had served prior prison terms.

         On July 10, 2018, the trial court appointed the public defender to represent Howell. Howell pled not guilty to the charges and denied all allegations and enhancements. The public defender declared a conflict and on July 13, 2018, the public defender was relieved as counsel and alternate counsel was appointed to represent Howell.

         Howell was the defendant in another criminal proceeding in case No. F18902159 (case No. 159) where a doubt as to Howell's competency to stand trial had been declared, pursuant to Penal Code[1] section 1368.[2] Defense counsel declared doubt as to Howell's competency to stand trial in the current case and the trial court ordered criminal proceedings suspended and instituted section 1368 proceedings.

         On July 18, 2018, the trial court appointed Howard Terrell, M.D., to examine Howell and assess his competency to stand trial. The competency report was due August 10, with a hearing on competency scheduled for August 15, 2018. Howell filed a handwritten objection to the section 1368 proceeding.

         Terrell submitted his report on August 6, 2018. Terrell recommended the trial court find Howell incompetent to stand trial. During the examination, Howell appeared to be responding to internal stimuli, indicated he was having problems with his memory, and initially claimed to be 30 years younger than his actual age.

         Howell reported that he has been under treatment for schizophrenia, anxiety, and “[d]eep depression.” He had been hospitalized twice, for about nine months each time, for psychiatric reasons. Howell reported suffering visual hallucinations off-and-on for the past three years and reported auditory hallucinations as well. Howell had been prescribed antipsychotic medication in the past but complained it had been discontinued and “he [has] been feeling much worse ever since.”

         Howell reported “episodes of rapid thoughts and speech with the ability to go up to two days without any need for sleep.” He denied ever using “street drugs” but admitted to consuming up to six cans of beer, 16 ounces each, per day. When asked about any history of paranoia, Howell paused and appeared to be responding to internal stimuli.

         When asked about the charges against him, Howell erroneously believed he was charged with theft. Terrell questioned Howell about his understanding of the actual charges pending against him. Howell told Terrell “in a paranoid manner that he does not trust his attorney.” Howell ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.