State v. Moore

In State v. Moore, 193 W.Va. 642, 457 S.E.2d 801 (1995), the Court found that a trial court could rely upon the conclusions of a psychological examination and the representations of defense counsel in determining whether a competency hearing was required. Moore asserted that the trial court had erred by ordering a competency evaluation to be conducted by a psychologist instead of a psychiatrist as mandated by W.Va. Code 27-6A-1. The record showed that when the trial court initially ordered the psychological exam, the prosecution noted that the statute required a psychiatric, not a psychological, exam. The trial court concluded that the statute was discretionary in this regard, and the defense expressly stated that it had no objection to the court's decision. The psychologist's report concluded that Moore was competent to stand trial. In a subsequent proceeding, the issue of a formal competency hearing was discussed and Moore's attorney repeatedly indicated that a hearing was not necessary. On appeal, the Court concluded in Moore that the trial court reasonably relied upon the psychological report and defense counsel's representations that a competency hearing was not necessary. The Court explained that "we do not find it to be reversible error when the defense counsel repeatedly turns down opportunities to request a psychiatrist and waives his client's right to a full competency hearing." Moore, 193 W.Va. at 646, 457 S.E.2d at 805.