California Motion to Withdraw a Competency Hearing Request

In People v. Johnson (1991) 235 Cal. App. 3d 1157, the court held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in granting defendant's motion to withdraw a request for a competency hearing. ( Id. at p. 1166.) In that case, the court suspended criminal proceedings pursuant to section 1368 so that the defendant could be examined by an appointed physician. A hearing was set for the anticipated medical report. ( Johnson, supra, at p. 1160.) At the hearing on the report, it was revealed that the appointed doctor had found the defendant competent. at the request of the district attorney, another psychiatrist was appointed to examine defendant pursuant to section 1368, and a hearing was set for the medical report. The report reached the same conclusion, i.e., that defendant was competent to stand trial. Defense counsel moved to withdraw the section 1368 request, and the motion was granted. The defendant subsequently pleaded guilty. ( Johnson, supra, at p. 1160.) The Johnson court reasoned that the central issue in that case was whether defendant made "the threshold showing which results in a mandatory competency hearing, or on the other hand, whether the court was proceeding on a discretionary basis that permitted the court to cancel the competency hearing at defense counsel's request." ( Johnson, supra, 235 Cal. App. 3d at p. 1161.) The court concluded that the trial court clearly had no doubt about the defendant's competency at the time defense counsel withdrew the incompetency request, and there was no substantial evidence that made the failure to schedule a hearing an abuse of discretion. ( Id. at p. 1166.)