An Indiana trial court was not required to hold a competency hearing before revoking a man’s probation on a rape conviction because the man did not request such a hearing and did not prove that his mental illness was so severe as to relieve him of criminal responsibility for violating his probation, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday.
While his mother was in the hospital in February 2006, 18-year-old Derek Hutchinson entered the room of an 85-year-old patient, L.A. When L.A. woke up, she found Hutchinson sitting on her bed and rubbing his hand along her face and, later, her breast.
Hutchinson then moved into the room of 92-year-old L.E., who was comatose. After attempting to wake L.E., Hutchinson lifted her hospital gown and had vaginal intercourse with her. Anderson police officers were called to the scene and found Hutchinson hiding in a basement office.
Hutchinson was charged with various felonies, bur agreed to plead guilty to felony rape of L.E. in exchange for the other charges being dropped and a sentencing cap at 15 years. The Madison Circuit Court accepted Hutchinson’s plea of guilty but mentally ill and, after noting his pattern of mental illness, sentenced him to a total of 20 years, with 15 years executed and five years suspended. That sentence was affirmed on direct appeal in 2007, and he was released to probation in October 2016.
However, less than a month later, Hutchinson was alleged to have violated his probation by committing several new criminal offenses, including unlawful entry by a sex offender. An evidentiary hearing was held in January 2017, and neither Hutchinson nor his counsel requested a competency hearing.
During the hearing, the state presented evidence that Hutchinson had entered Elwood Junior-Senior High School, identified himself as Mitchel Cruz and asked to speak with a student, M.R. Elwood Police Office Sherry Wright advised him that students were not pulled out of class to speak with people in the office, and Hutchinson left the school.
Hutchinson was then observed the next day riding a bike between an elementary school and the junior-senior high school about the same time M.R.’s mother expressed concern to Officer Andy McGuire about Hutchinson trying to pick up her daughter the previous day. McGuire approached Hutchinson, followed him to the address of a residence he provided and spoke to his mother, who referred to him by his real name.
Hutchinson’s mother then informed McGuire that Hutchinson was on probation for rape, so he was taken to the police department, where he admitted M.R. reminded him of an ex-girlfriend. He also maintained he was 17 years old, even though he was 18 at the time he was charged with rape.
The trial court found Hutchinson had violated his probation and, thus, revoked it and ordered him to serve the five-year, previously suspended sentence. He appealed in Derek Hutchinson v. State of Indiana, 48A02-1702-CR-340, arguing the trial court committed fundamental error by failing to order a competency evaluation.
But Indiana Court of Appeals Judge Cale Bradford wrote in the opinion neither Hutchinson nor his counsel requested such a hearing. Further, according to a pre-sentence investigation report, Hutchinson was found competent to stand trial in 2006 and has provided no evidence of a serious mental deterioration since that time, Bradford said. Thus, the trial court did not err.