FOR PARTIAL PUBLICATION [*]
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.
Becerra, Attorney General, Michael P. Farrell, Assistant
Attorney General, Kimberley A. Donohue and R. Todd Marshall,
Deputy Attorneys General, for Plaintiff and Respondent.
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.
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.
AND PROCEDURAL SUMMARY
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.
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.
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 section 1368. 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
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.
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
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.”
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
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 ...