Judicial Determination of Mental Competency In Texas
In Schaffer v. State, 583 S.W.2d 627 (Tex. Crim. App. [Panel Op.] 1979), the defendant was found to be incompetent to stand trial and was committed to Rusk State Hospital.
He was later deemed competent and returned to the trial court.
Although the record showed that the certification and final report of the superintendent of the hospital was submitted to the court and made a part of the record in the case, there was no judgment, order, docket sheet entry, or other evidence that the trial court ever made a determination of competency after the defendant's return from the state hospital.
The State argued that a judicial determination of competency was not necessary because the defendant was certified as competent in the report from the superintendent of the state hospital, and that the trial court was entitled to rely solely on this report or, alternatively, that no specific judicial determination of competency was required in the record because such a determination could be inferred by the court's decision to proceed to trial.
The Court of Criminal Appeals held that the record required that a judicial determination of competency be made and therefore abated the matter to the trial court for such a determination. Schaffer v. State, 583 S.W.2d at 631.