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Luster v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

July 15, 2019

Charles Edward Luster, Appellant-Defendant,
v.
State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff.

          Appeal from the St. Joseph Superior Court The Honorable John M. Marnocha, Judge Trial Court Cause No. 71D02-1504-F5-54

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Scott H. Duerring South Bend, Indiana

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General of Indiana Jesse R. Drum Supervising Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis, Indiana

          NAJAM, JUDGE.

         Statement of the Case

         [¶1] Charles Edward Luster appeals the trial court's revocation of his placement in community corrections. Luster raises one issue for our review, which we revise and restate as whether the trial court violated his due process rights when it declined to consider evidence of his lack of competency prior to the hearing on the State's motion to revoke his placement.

         [¶2] We reverse and remand for further proceedings.

         Facts and Procedural History

         [¶3] In November 2015, Luster pleaded guilty to robbery, as a Level 5 felony. The trial court entered judgment of conviction and sentenced Luster to six years, with three years executed, three years suspended, and one year of probation. On July 12, 2018, the State filed a petition to revoke Luster's probation. At a hearing, Luster admitted to the allegations, and the trial court revoked Luster's placement on probation and ordered him to serve three years in community corrections.

         [¶4] On September 25, James Thompson, a security officer at Luster's facility, was informed that Luster was acting erratically and talking to himself. Officer Thompson then reviewed footage from the facility's security cameras. While watching the footage, Officer Thompson observed Luster engage in inappropriate sexual conduct in the laundry room, which was against the rules of the facility. The State then filed a petition to revoke Luster's placement in community corrections due to his inappropriate conduct.

         [¶5] On October 1, the court appointed two medical experts to evaluate Luster's competency because the court "ha[d] reason to believe that [Luster] may lack a present ability to understand the proceedings and assist in the preparation of [his] defense[.]" Appellant's App. Vol. II at 111. Thereafter, two medical experts evaluated Luster. Dr. Evert VanderStoep found that Luster "understands his legal situation correctly." Id. at 119. However, Dr. VanderStoep found that Luster "has been psychotic for as long as he can remember." Id. Dr. VanderStoep reviewed two previous psychiatric evaluations, which both indicated that Luster suffers from paranoid schizophrenia. Dr. VanderStoep opined that, if Luster continued to take the proper medications, it would be "possible for him to manage the structure" at the community corrections facility. Id. at 120.

         [¶6] Dr. Warren Sibilla, Jr. also conducted a competency evaluation of Luster. Dr. Sibilla concluded that Luster's symptoms were consistent with bipolar affective disorder, substance abuse disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. With respect to Luster's competency, Dr. Sibilla concluded that Luster "does not demonstrate the capacity to stand trial for the charges in this legal matter." Id. at 130 (emphasis removed).

         [¶7] The trial court held a hearing on the State's petition to revoke Luster's placement in community corrections. However, while the court acknowledged at the beginning of the hearing that it had ordered a competency evaluation, the court nonetheless concluded that "the statute concerning competency [Indiana Code Section 35-36-3-1] contemplates [a] prejudgment [assessment] and of course this is post-judgment by a long shot." Tr. at 2. As such, the trial court did not consider the competency evaluations but proceeded with the hearing.

         [¶8] At the conclusion of the hearing, the court found that Luster had violated the conditions of his placement. Accordingly, the court revoked Luster's placement in community corrections and ordered him to serve the remaining three ...


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