Steven Kenneth STALEY, Appellant v. The STATE of Texas. Ex Parte Steven Kenneth Staley, Applicant.
Nos. AP–76,798, AP–76,868.
-- September 11, 2013
C. James Gibson, Assistant District Attorney, Fort Worth, TX, for Appellant.John W. Stickels, Stickels & Associates, P.C., Arlington, TX, for the State.
In this case, we are asked to decide whether state or federal law disallows the execution of a mentally ill inmate who was previously found incompetent to be executed and later became competent only after he was involuntarily medicated pursuant to a court order. Steven Kenneth Staley, appellant,1 raises this question in a subsequent application for a writ of habeas corpus and a motion for review under Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Article 46.05.2 See Tex.Code Crim. Proc. arts. 11.071, § 5, & 46.05. Article 46.05 provides that a “person who is incompetent to be executed may not be executed” and permits appeal to this Court of a finding under that article. Tex.Code Crim. Proc. art. 46.05(a), (l). With respect to appellant's motion for review, we conclude that this Court has jurisdiction over this appeal pursuant to the current competency-to-be-executed statute, including jurisdiction to review the involuntary-medication order to the extent that it is intertwined with the trial court's ruling that appellant is now competent to be executed.3 As to the merits of the appeal, we hold that the trial court's order mandating involuntary medication of appellant was not permitted under the competency-to-be-executed statute and did not meet the requirements of other statutes that may permit involuntary medication. Because the trial court lacked authority to render it, we vacate the trial court's involuntary-medication order. Furthermore, we determine that, but for that unauthorized order, the evidence conclusively shows that appellant is incompetent to be executed, and, therefore, we also vacate the trial court's order finding appellant competent to be executed.4
In 1991, appellant was convicted of capital murder in Tarrant County. Appellant and two others rounded up a group of employees at a restaurant, threatened them with firearms, took their possessions, and then killed the manager after taking him hostage. A jury found appellant guilty and answered the special issues in the affirmative. After the trial court sentenced him to death, appellant exhausted his appellate remedies and was denied relief on two applications for a writ of habeas corpus.5 The trial court set his execution date for February 2006. Since then, the trial court has held two hearings on the matter of whether appellant is competent to be executed. He was found incompetent at the first hearing and competent at the second hearing.
A. The First Competency Hearing
The month before the scheduled execution in 2006, appellant filed a motion with the trial court challenging his competency to be executed pursuant to the then-applicable competency-to-be-executed statute. See former Tex.Code Crim. Proc. art. 46.05 (Vernon 2005). The trial court ordered a psychiatric evaluation of appellant.
The court held a hearing on appellant's motion, at which the medical experts who had evaluated appellant, Dr. Randall Price and Dr. Mark Cunningham, testified. They explained that, although appellant understood that he was to be executed, he did not have a rational understanding of the reason for his execution.6 They testified that he suffered a severe, chronic psychosis, namely paranoid schizophrenia, with which he had been routinely diagnosed for nearly 15 years, and that his condition had deteriorated over time. They stated that, since 1993, appellant had been prescribed various psychotropic medications, most notably Haloperidol (“Haldol”), in an effort to control the symptoms of his illness. However, they noted that he had not consistently complied with that prescription and, in the months preceding the competency evaluation, had frequently refused medication.
Dr. Cunningham, a clinical and forensic psychologist, testified that appellant had demonstrated numerous symptoms of psychosis over the course of many years, including self-inflicted injuries, grossly neglected personal hygiene, resting in his own excrement and urine, irregular eating and sleeping habits, including refusing food and fluids, delusions of paralysis, and lying on one spot in his cell so long as to rub a bald spot in the back of his head. He explained that appellant had a history of “spontaneously and repeatedly refusing medication” so that long-term stabilization “may well require” compulsory medication. He opined that it would be “good medical practice” to medicate appellant to control his symptoms.
Dr. Price, also a clinical and forensic psychologist, testified that appellant's symptoms included “syntactical aphasia,” which he described as “word salad,” or the nonsensical ordering of words, as well as the regular use of fictitious language. He said that during those periods when appellant was compliant with his prescription, he showed no overt signs of decompensation, but that he had frequently refused medication because he denied his illness and believed the medication was an attempt to “poison” him.
Based on this testimony, the trial court ruled that appellant was incompetent to be executed. Afterward, the case was forwarded to this Court in accordance with the then-applicable statute. See id . at 46.05(k). The next day, the trial court withdrew the execution date.7 Nevertheless, appellant later filed a motion to stay the execution with this Court. This Court issued an order dismissing his motion as moot because the trial court had already withdrawn the execution date. Ex parte Staley, No. WR–37,034–03 (Tex.Crim.App. April 12, 2006) (per curiam). The order advised the trial court, however, of its statutory duty to conduct periodic evaluations of appellant. See id. (citing former Tex.Code Crim. Proc. art. 46.05(k) (Vernon 2005)).8
The following month, the State filed a motion with the trial court seeking involuntary medication of appellant. In support, it cited both a medical purpose—to control the symptoms of appellant's psychosis and ease his suffering as a result of his mental illness—and the State's interest in enforcing the judgment. Appellant disputed both purposes. He challenged the medical purpose by arguing that psychotropic drugs can yield harmful side effects. He also contended that “artificial competence” achieved by medication does not constitute competence under the competency-to-be-executed statute, the federal Constitution, or the Texas Constitution.
The trial court held a hearing at which it heard arguments from the State and appellant. Based largely on the evidence that had been introduced at the competency hearing, the trial court granted the motion and entered an order authorizing the involuntary medication of appellant. It concluded that (1) the State has a legitimate interest in enforcing the sentence, which is not outweighed by appellant's interest in avoiding medication; (2) medication is the least intrusive and, in fact, only method of achieving competency; (3) compelled medication is in appellant's “best medical interest” because (a) without it, he will suffer “frightening delusions and general disorder within his mind” and (b) there is no evidence that he had suffered any side effects from the medication; and (4) without medication, appellant posed a danger to himself and others.
By mandamus and direct appeal, appellant attempted to challenge the trial court's order requiring involuntary medication, but those challenges were unsuccessful. This Court denied him leave to file an application for a writ of mandamus and prohibition and a motion for stay, but presumably this denial was based on his failure to show that a ministerial duty was at issue. After that, this Court, by written opinion, dismissed his direct appeal for lack of jurisdiction on the basis that the involuntary-medication order was a non-appealable, interlocutory order. Staley v. State, 233 S.W.3d 337 (Tex.Crim.App.2007) (“Staley I ”); see former Tex.Code Crim. Proc. art. 46.05 (Vernon 2005). By mid–2006, therefore, appellant was found incompetent to be executed but was to be involuntarily medicated pursuant to the trial court's order, and no litigation transpired for six years.
B. The Second Competency Hearing
In 2012, the State filed with the trial court a “request for further competency examination” under the current competency-to-be-executed statute, and the trial court held a second competency hearing. See Tex.Code Crim. Proc. art. 46.05(k), (m).
The trial court received testimony from Dr. Price and another clinical and forensic psychologist, Dr. Kristi Compton, who each determined that appellant was competent to be executed. By April 2012, Dr. Price had examined appellant five times. Dr. Price discussed his findings from examinations done in June 2006 and October 2010. He stated that, although appellant was experiencing delusional thoughts such as having “180 zillion dollars,” his psychotic and schizophrenic symptoms were under control with about 60 percent compliance with the Haldol prescription. Dr. Price testified that appellant knew many of the details about his litigation and the crime. He knew the names of the defense attorneys, the prosecutors, and the victim, and that he was convicted of killing a man during the course of a robbery of a restaurant. Appellant said that he thought he had received a fair trial except for the admission of certain extraneous-offense evidence during the guilt stage. He knew that the death penalty was, in his words, to “retribute the public for a heinous crime.” He understood that the process for the death penalty is lethal injection after “6:00 p.m. at night on the date of your execution” and could name two of the three lethal fluids. He explained death as permanently going to sleep and said he did not believe in an afterlife. Dr. Price acknowledged that appellant did not actually believe that he would be executed because he was convinced that his attorneys would obtain a stay. Dr. Price opined that appellant understood (1) that he was to be executed and that his execution was imminent and (2) the reason for his execution, thus satisfying the statutory two-pronged standard for competency to be executed. See Tex.Code Crim. Proc. art. 46.05(h). In addition to the competency finding, Dr. Price determined that appellant was not mentally retarded.
Dr. Price further testified as to the effects of the medication. He explained that, in his opinion, Haldol is medically beneficial to a patient who has the symptoms of schizophrenia experienced by appellant. Without the prescription, a person with symptoms of schizophrenia is in a distressed state of mind, suffering from an illness that is “creating havoc” in his head. He acknowledged, however, that the side effects to Haldol can be “unpleasant” in that it is a “major tranquilizer,” slows down thinking and functioning, may affect a person's use of his arms and legs, and may cause dryness of the mouth. Dr. Price explained that these side effects were controlled in appellant, who was taking another drug, Cogentin, for that purpose. He further confirmed that no evidence suggested that appellant has suffered any harmful side effects. He testified that, without medication, appellant will continue to suffer “frightening” delusions and other mental disorders and that appellant has been asymptomatic while on medication.
The State also introduced a report by Dr. Compton detailing her findings from her examination of appellant in April 2012. The report indicated that, in October 2010, appellant's condition had deteriorated and he was “catatonic.” He heard auditory hallucinations and believed an “electric polygraph” transmitted thoughts into his head that were not his own. The report indicated that, as of 2011, treatment providers doubled his intake of Haldol and that, as of the time of the examination in 2012, his condition had improved. He no longer heard voices or experienced other hallucinations and reported “a positive mood state with no severe depressive symptoms.” He continued to experience delusions of grandeur, but his thought processes appeared “concrete.” The report also showed that appellant reported “being forced to take medication because he was told ‘a new law says I have to take the medication’ “ and that if he refused “oral medication then he is strapped down and injected.” Her report further indicated that animal studies have shown that the use of Haldol caused a ten to twenty percent reduction in brain cortex volume after eight weeks of use.
In its ruling after both sides rested, the trial court, in accordance with the opinions of the two experts, found that appellant was competent to be executed, but only because of the effects of the forcible medication. The trial court stated,
When [appellant] is on Haldol and Zoloft, that his understanding is equivalent to competency, that he is competent, that if he—and I think both doctors have stated that if he is taken off this medication, that he could deteriorate and decompensate. But based upon the fact that he has been on this medication, that he is competent at this time. And that is both from the State's expert, Dr. Price, and also the Defense's expert, Dr. Compton. As such, the Court is going to make a finding that Mr. Staley is competent at this time․
The trial court scheduled appellant's execution for May 2012. Appellant sought a stay of execution in this Court, which we granted to address the disputes currently before us. Ex parte Staley, No. WR–37,034–05, 2012 Tex.Crim.App. Unpub. LEXIS 482, at *3 (Tex.Crim.App. May 14, 2012) (per curiam) (not designated for publication). We sustain appellant's seventh issue, which challenges the trial court's authority to involuntarily medicate him for purposes of making him competent to be executed.9 Having determined that the trial court lacked the authority to order involuntary medication under these circumstances, we sustain appellant's first and second issues on the basis that, but for the unauthorized involuntary-medication order, the evidence conclusively shows that appellant is incompetent to be executed.10 We do not reach any of appellant's constitutional challenges that may be involved in those issues, nor his remaining issues that contend that (1) the trial court's involuntary-medication order violates the federal and state constitutions,11 and (2) that he is severely insane to the point that he is functionally mentally retarded and his execution, therefore, would violate the federal and state constitutions.12
II. This Court Has Jurisdiction Over the Appeal From the Trial Court's Finding of Competency Under the Current Competency–To–Be–Executed Statute13
As an initial matter, we determine that this Court has jurisdiction to review this competency appeal because the the current competency-to-be-executed statute applies to this case. That statute, unlike its predecessor, expressly permits appeal of any competency determination to this Court. See Tex.Code Crim. Proc. art. 46.05(l). We further conclude that we have jurisdiction to review the involuntary-medication order because it is intertwined with the trial court's finding that appellant is competent. We explain these conclusions in more detail below.
A. Current Statute Applies to This Case
The parties dispute whether the former or current competency-to-be-executed statute applies to this case. That distinction is relevant here because under the former competency-to-be-executed statute, only a finding of incompetence could be appealed. See former Tex.Code Crim. Proc. art. 46 .05(k) (Vernon 2005); Ex parte Caldwell, 58 S.W.3d 127, 130 (Tex.Crim.App.2000). The State argues that the former version of the statute applies and that appellant is thus not permitted to challenge the trial court's finding that he is competent. Appellant disagrees and urges that the current version of the statute should apply to his case.
In Ex parte Caldwell, this Court dismissed an inmate's appeal of the trial court's competency finding because we determined that the former competency-to-be-executed statute did not permit review of “the finding that the defendant is competent to be executed.” Caldwell, 58 S.W.3d at 130 (citing former Tex.Code Crim. Proc. art. 46.05(k) (Vernon 2005)). In reaching our conclusion, we relied on the plain terms of the former statute, which authorized this Court to take subsequent action in a competency proceeding only upon the trial court's “finding by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant is incompetent to be executed.” See former Tex.Code Crim. Proc. art. 46.05(k). By contrast, the current statute, which became effective on September 1, 2007, expressly authorizes this Court to review a finding that a defendant is competent. See Tex.Code Crim. Proc. art. 46.05(l) (statute amended by Act of May 23, 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., ch. 677, § 1, 2007 Tex. Gen. Laws 677 (H.B.1545)).14
The State filed its motion and the trial court issued its competency finding in 2012, long after the current statute became effective. Appellant points to that motion and trial court's finding as invoking the current statute. The State, however, suggests that the former competency-to-be-executed statute should apply instead of the current statute because the trial court's first finding of incompetency was made prior to the effective date of the current statute.
The State's 2012 motion asked the trial court to find appellant competent based on the results of examinations that had been conducted under the competency-to-be-executed statute's requirement that the trial court order the periodic re-examination of appellant to determine whether he remained incompetent. See Tex.Code Crim. Proc. art. 46.05(m); former Tex.Code Crim. Proc. art. 46.05(k) (Vernon 2005). This requirement, present in the former and current versions of the statute, is part of a trial court's continued jurisdiction over the matter of a defendant's competency to be executed. See Tex.Code Crim. Proc. art. 46.05(b) (trial court “retains jurisdiction over motions filed by or for a defendant under this article”); Tex.Code Crim. Proc. art. 43.141 (convicting court has continuing authority to set execution date). This continued jurisdiction could last an extended period of time, from the time that a defendant's death sentence is imposed until his death by execution or natural causes or until he obtains extraordinary relief from a writ of habeas corpus that reverses a death sentence. In light of this extended post-conviction period, the Legislature specified that the current statute would apply only to motions filed on or after September 1, 2007. The legislative note to the amendment stated that the amendment
applies only to a motion filed under Article 46.05, Code of Criminal Procedure, on or after the effective date of this Act. A motion filed under that article before the effective date of this Act is covered by the law in effect on the date the motion was filed, and the former law is continued in effect for that purpose.
Act of May 23, 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., ch. 677, at § 2. Here, because the State filed its motion to find appellant competent in 2012, the current competency-to-be-executed statute applies to the review of the trial court's competency finding, and that statute permits this Court to review the trial court's order finding appellant competent.15
Having determined that this Court has jurisdiction to review the trial court's competency order, we must next address whether this Court has jurisdiction to address appellant's complaint that his competence was “artificial” due to his involuntary medication.
B. Involuntary–Medication Order is Intertwined with Trial Court's Finding That Appellant Is Competent To Be Executed
Appellant contends that the trial court erred by finding him competent to be executed under the competency-to-be-executed statute because his competence has been achieved artificially through court-ordered involuntary medication. Although it disputes the merits of appellant's claim, the State essentially concedes that this Court has jurisdiction to address appellant's argument that he is “artificially competent” because that argument “goes to the heart of whether he is actually competent.” On the other hand, the State disputes that the involuntary-medication order itself is reviewable under the competency-to-be-executed statute because that statute limits the scope of this Court's review to the narrow confines of the trial court's competency determination. The State urges that “[w]hether the trial court's medication order was appropriate, legally justified, or constitutional, is beyond the purview of article 46.05.”
We disagree with the State's position and hold that we may properly review the trial court's involuntary-medication order within the scope of our competency-determination review. For purposes of understanding the underlying proceedings, we briefly explain why we have jurisdiction over the present appeal but did not have jurisdiction over an earlier appeal from this involuntary-medication order. In 2006, this Court dismissed appellant's appeal from the involuntary-medication order because we determined that, under the prior competency-to-be-executed statute, that order was a non-appealable, interlocutory order. Staley I, 233 S.W.3d at 337; see former Tex.Code Crim. Proc. art. 46.05 (Vernon 2005). In Staley I, this Court reasoned that in order for it to obtain jurisdiction over the appeal, the appellant had to appeal a “judgment of guilt or other appealable order.” Id. at 338 n. 4 (citing Tex.R.App. P. 25.2(a)(2)). Appellant had not presented either. Rather, he challenged the trial court's medication order, which was a stand-alone order that was separate and distinct from the trial court's finding that he was incompetent. See id. Because the finding of incompetency was in his favor, appellant could not present any appeal under the former competency-to-be-executed statute. See id. at 338 n. 5 (holding that involuntary-medication order was unreviewable because “[n]either the withdrawal of an execution date nor a review of a finding of incompetence” was at issue, interpreting former Tex.Code Crim. Proc. art. 46.05(k)).
In contrast to Staley I, the present challenge to the trial court's involuntary-medication order comes to this Court as a challenge to the finding of competency under the current competency-to-be-executed statute, which permits this type of appeal. See Tex.Code Crim. Proc. art. 46.05(l) (permitting appeal to this Court from any competency determination). The case before us is not merely an interlocutory appeal of a non-appealable order. Compare Staley I, 233 S.W.3d at 338 n. 4. Instead, the trial court's ruling that appellant is competent to be executed only because of his involuntary medication makes the trial court's medication order an inextricable part of its competency determination. Because the involuntary-medication order was entered for the specific purpose of making appellant competent to be executed, its validity is reviewable as a core element of this Court's competency review. We hold that this Court has jurisdiction to review (1) the trial court's competency finding under the competency-to-be-executed statute because the current statute applies to this case and (2) the trial court's involuntary-medication order because that order is intertwined with appellant's challenge that forcible medication has made him artificially competent. See Eichelberger v. Eichelberger, 582 S.W.2d 395, 399 (Tex.1979) (explaining that “implied powers are those which can and ought to be implied from an express grant of power” and finding appellate jurisdiction because no other mechanism existed to review lower court's decision).
III. Trial Court Erred By Finding Appellant Competent Following Court–Ordered Involuntary Medication
As explained in more detail below, we conclude that the trial court lacked the authority to order the involuntary medication of appellant and that the competency finding must be reversed because that determination is wholly dependent on that unauthorized involuntary medication of appellant.
A. Trial Court Lacked Authority to Involuntarily Medicate Appellant Under the Evidence Presented
In his seventh claim, appellant argues that the trial court lacked jurisdiction and authority under the competency-to-be-executed statute to order him involuntarily medicated.16 The State responds that the trial court's order “is nothing but a vehicle for enforcing its own judgment and sentence, and the mandate of” this Court, which falls within a trial court's general judicial power. We disagree with the State.
1. Applicable Law for Trial Court's Post–Conviction Power
A trial court must derive its jurisdiction from either the Texas Constitution or legislative enactments. State v. Holloway, 360 S.W.3d 480, 485 (Tex.Crim.App.2012). When a conviction has been affirmed on appeal and the mandate has issued, general jurisdiction is not restored in the trial court. State v. Patrick, 86 S.W.3d 592, 594 (Tex.Crim.App.2002) (plurality op.).
A trial court can obtain post-conviction jurisdiction over a case under many different statutes, for example, to set the date of execution, conduct DNA testing, or, as here, determine whether an inmate is competent to be executed. See Tex.Code Crim. Proc. arts. 43.141(b) (“If an original application is not timely filed under Article 11.071 ․ the convicting court may set an execution date.”); 64.01(a–1) (authorizing convicting court to hear motions for DNA testing); and 46.05(b) (“The trial court retains jurisdiction over motions filed by or for a defendant under this article.”). These post-conviction statutes define the scope of the trial court's jurisdiction. See Holloway, 360 S.W.3d at 485. Furthermore, a trial court may have jurisdiction over a matter, but no authority to act.17 Id.
2. Competency–To–Be–Executed Statute Does Not Authorize Trial Court to Order Involuntary Medication
A plain reading of the competency-to-be-executed statute indicates that the trial court lacked the authority to order appellant involuntarily medicated. See Boykin v. State, 818 S.W.2d 782, 785 (Tex.Crim.App.1991). In relevant part, the competency-to-be-executed statute provides that, after an execution is stayed on the basis of incompetency, “the trial court shall periodically order that the defendant be reexamined by mental health experts to determine whether the defendant is no longer incompetent to be executed.” Tex.Code Crim. Proc. art. 46.05(m). Aside from the provision permitting re-examination, the statute does not authorize the trial court to take any other action with respect to a defendant found incompetent under that statute. See id.
The State argues that the trial court had inherent or implied authority to enter the medication order as necessary to carrying out the sentence. In support, it cites Kelley v. State for the proposition that judicial power under the Texas Constitution includes the power to execute the judgment. 676 S.W.2d 104, 107 (Tex.Crim.App.1984) (determining that civil statute (1) did not create “courts” with independent jurisdiction, but rather permitted magistrates to assist district-court judges in certain limited matters, and (2) was not unconstitutional). As noted in Kelley, this Court has long construed “ ‘[j]udicial power’ as envisioned by the Constitution [to] embrace[ ] ‘(1) The power to hear facts, (2) the power to decide the issues of fact made by the pleadings, (3) the power to decide the questions of law involved, (4) the power to enter a judgment on the facts found in accordance with the law as determined by the court, (5) and the power to execute the judgment or sentence.’ “ Id. (quoting Morrow v. Corbin, 122 Tex. 553, 62 S.W.2d 641, 645 (Tex.1933)).
We disagree with the State that the trial court's general power under the Texas Constitution authorized the court's order in this case. With respect to a defendant's competency to be executed, the Legislature has limited the trial court's general power to execute its judgment by specifically prohibiting the execution of an incompetent inmate. See Tex.Code Crim. Proc. art. 46.05. Aside from permitting it to periodically reexamine an incompetent inmate, the Legislature did not authorize the trial court to take any collateral steps to restore the inmate to competency. See id.18
This Court has addressed the limits to post-conviction jurisdiction in State v. Holloway, 360 S.W.3d at 485. In that case, we examined whether Chapter 64 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, which governs post-conviction motions for DNA testing and to which we refer as the “DNA statute,” authorized the trial court to grant Holloway a new trial after DNA testing produced exculpatory results. Id. at 482 (analyzing Tex.Code Crim. Proc. ch. 64). Holding that it did not, we first noted that, “on its face,” the DNA statute did not expressly authorize the trial court to grant a new trial or to take any remedial action. Id. at 486–87. We observed that “the only substantive order that Chapter 64 contemplates is the one that grants or denies the movant's request for DNA testing.” Id. at 486. Because the statute, by its plain language, authorized the trial court only to make a finding as to whether a defendant is entitled to testing, we concluded that the language “expresses the evident legislative purpose” of the DNA statute, which was to provide a defendant “an avenue for post-conviction forensic DNA testing—and no more.” Id. at 487.
Holloway nevertheless argued, as the State does in the present case, that the trial court had “implicit authority” to order a new trial “because it was in furtherance of the ‘jurisdictional purpose’ “ of the DNA statute. Id. at 487–88. We rejected this contention, noting that the “jurisdictional purpose” of that statute was “simply to provide deserving applicants with a mechanism for post-conviction DNA testing and a favorable finding on the record if justified by that testing; it does not include any other remedy or form of relief in the convicting court.” Id. at 488. We concluded that permitting the trial court to take that extra-statutory action would conflict with the plainly expressed jurisdictional purpose of the DNA statute. Id.; see Wolfe v. State, 120 S.W.3d 368, 372 (Tex.Crim.App.2003) (observing that trial court's jurisdiction and authority under DNA statute limited to that prescribed by that statute).
Here, similarly, we conclude that the trial court's involuntary-medication order was not authorized by the competency-to-be-executed statute. See Tex.Code Crim. Proc. art. 46.05. The language of that statute evinces its purpose of enabling defendants to seek a determination as to their competency to be executed and to obtain a stay of execution upon a finding of incompetency. See id. Nothing in the statute permits the trial court, once it has found a defendant incompetent, to take any action other than ordering periodic reevaluation of the defendant. See id. The statutory language plainly and strictly limits the trial court's authority in competency-to-be-executed proceedings, and application of that language does not yield an absurd result. See Boykin, 818 S.W.2d at 785–86. In light of the plain language expressly limiting the trial court's role to ordering periodic reevaluations of an individual who has been found incompetent and to determining whether he is competent, the trial court's extraordinary measures aimed at restoring appellant's competency through his involuntary medication cannot be characterized as mere actions in furtherance of the statute's jurisdictional purpose. See Holloway, 360 S.W.3d at 488.19
We cannot conclude that ordering treatment of any kind for the specific objective of restoring an inmate to competency merely furthers the court's ability to evaluate and make a determination regarding his competency as permitted by the competency-to-be-executed statute. See Tex.Code Crim. Proc. art. 46.05(m). The trial court's order in this case, therefore, was not implicitly authorized under the statute. Id.
3. No Other Statute Permits Post–Conviction Judicial Authorization of Involuntary Medication of Inmates
Although Texas permits the involuntary medication of people in limited circumstances, the record does not show that those circumstances existed here. Specifically, prison regulations permit the involuntary medication of inmates in limited circumstances. And, in limited circumstances, courts may order the involuntary medication of people who are involuntarily committed or incompetent and awaiting trial. To the extent that they might be applicable to this case, neither of those procedural vehicles was invoked here.
In Texas, inmates may be involuntarily medicated following a limited, non-judicial administrative process set forth by the Texas Correctional Managed Health Care Committee. See Texas Correctional Managed Health Care Policy Manual, § I–67.1, Compelled Psychoactive Medication For Mental Illness (October 15, 2012), available at http://www.cmhcc.state.tx.us/CMHC_Policy_Manual/I/I–67.1% 20(1012) .pdf.20 In a non-emergency situation, an inmate may be compelled to take psychoactive medication when failure to do so “[i]s likely to result in continued suffering from severe and abnormal mental, emotional and physical distress or deterioration of the patient's ability to function independently.” Id. at 3, § I–B. This process does not involve an adversarial hearing before a judge, but rather requires an administrative hearing before a “nontreating, psychiatrist/psychiatric mid-level practitioner.” Id. at 3, § V–D. This administrative process was not implemented in the present case.
Furthermore, although trial courts may forcibly medicate patients receiving inpatient mental-health services, that provision does not apply to inmates facing execution. See Tex. Health & Safety Code, Title 7, Subtitle C, Ch. 574 (“Court–Ordered Mental Health Services”); id. at subchapter G (“Administration of Medication to Patient Under Court–Ordered Mental Health Services”). Specifically, Section 574.106 sets forth the conditions under which a court may order administration of psychoactive medication. Id. at § 574.106. That provision limits such judicial authorization to a defendant who is, at the time, under a court order to receive inpatient mental-health services or who is receiving those services while awaiting trial after being found incompetent to stand trial. Id.; see also Tex.Code Crim. Proc. arts. 46B.073 & 46B.086. This provision does not appear to be applicable to individuals sentenced to death and was not invoked as the basis for the involuntary medication in this case.
Because appellant was involuntarily medicated pursuant to the trial court's order under the competency-to-be-executed statute, we limit our holding to that circumstance and do not address the potential consequences of involuntary medication through a different procedure. We hold that the trial court exceeded its authority by ordering the involuntary medication of appellant under the competency-to-be-executed statute, and, therefore, reverse that order. See Tex.Code Crim. Proc. art. 46.05. We sustain appellant's seventh claim.21
B. Evidence Conclusively Establishes Appellant's Incompetence But For Involuntary Medication
As we explain in more detail below, we conclude that, but for his involuntary medication achieved through the trial court's unauthorized order, appellant is incompetent to be executed. We, therefore, agree with appellant's first and second grounds, in which he contends that the evidence does not support the trial court's finding that he is competent to be executed as defined by the competency-to-be-executed statute or the State or federal constitutions. See Tex.Code Crim. Proc. art. 46.05(h); Green v. State, 374 S.W.3d 434, 440 (Tex.Crim.App.2012) (competency-to-be-executed statute codifies constitutional standards).
The trial court found, and the record shows, that the sole basis for the trial court's finding that appellant was competent was due to his involuntary medication.22 Dr. Price explained that appellant is asymptomatic and competent so long as he is medicated. As noted by the State, Dr. Price testified that he did not regard “medically aided competence” and “everyday competence” as distinguishable because the “cause of the competence is not a part of ․ an [expert's] opinion that someone is competent or not.” Dr. Compton submitted an affidavit in which she concluded that appellant “appears to be currently competent. However, there is a reasonable degree of psychological certainty that without forced medications he would not be competent.” Her affidavit noted several instances in which appellant refused medication and had to be forcibly medicated. After hearing the evidence, the trial court noted that “both doctors have stated that if he is taken off this medication, he could deteriorate and decompensate. But based upon the fact that he had been on this medication, that he is competent at this time.”
In light of the record, we conclude that, but for the trial court's impermissible involuntary-medication order, the evidence does not support the trial court's determination that appellant is competent to be executed under the competency-to-be-executed statute. The State and the dissenting opinion by Presiding Judge Keller, however, suggest that the underlying reasons for an inmate's competency are immaterial to the sole question of whether he is competent under the competency-to-be-executed statute. This argument is unpersuasive because it mistakenly suggests that this court should apply the standard for traditional sufficiency-of-the-evidence review rather than the more analogous standard that this Court has applied when an unconstitutional act by the trial court has transformed the evidence in the case.23 Here, the latter standard applies because the trial court's unauthorized order was the sole cause of the transformation of the evidence from evidence supporting a finding of incompetence into evidence supporting a finding of competence.
The evidence conclusively shows that medication was critical to restoring appellant's competency and that, but for the involuntary-medication order, appellant would not have been compliant in taking his medication as prescribed. We, therefore, vacate the trial court's involuntary-medication order and its order finding appellant competent to be executed and remand the case to the trial court for periodic reevaluation of appellant under Article 46.05(m). Tex.Code Crim. Proc. art. 46.05(m).
We hold that the evidence conclusively shows that appellant's competency to be executed was achieved solely through the involuntary medication, which the trial court had no authority to order under the competency-to-be-executed statute. The finding that appellant is competent must be reversed for lack of any evidentiary support. We do not reach the question of whether the federal or Texas constitution would disallow the execution of a prisoner who has been involuntarily medicated pursuant to a proper order. We do not reach appellant's claims that challenge the constitutionality of achieving competency by way of forcible medication or his claim that he is functionally mentally retarded. With respect to his statutory appeal, we sustain appellant's first, second, and seventh claims and dismiss his third, fourth, fifth, sixth, eighth, and ninth claims. We vacate the trial court's order of involuntary medication and its order finding appellant competent to be executed. We remand the case to that court for proceedings consistent with this opinion.
The Court treats two separate issues in this case as if they were one without adequately explaining why they should be analyzed as intertwined. In doing so, the Court breathes into existence a statutory requirement that simply does not exist.
The relevant statute says that a person is incompetent to be executed if he does not understand that he is to be executed, and that the execution is imminent, and the reason he is being executed.1 The statute prohibits the execution of such a person .2 The statute has nothing to say about the manner in which a person becomes competent to be executed.
One issue in this case is whether a trial court has inherent authority to involuntarily medicate a death-row inmate in order to enforce a judgment of death. I agree that the issue is properly before us, but not for the reasons expressed by the Court. As to the merits of this issue, I agree with Judge Meyers that the trial court did indeed have the authority to involuntarily medicate appellant.
A second issue is whether appellant is currently competent to be executed. Everyone agrees that he is. In order to avoid the obvious consequences of this fact, defense counsel invites us to conflate the issue of authority to medicate with the issue of competence to be executed. He does so by invoking the contrived concept of “artificial competence.” According to this artificial construct, a person's actual competence to be executed should be disregarded if he is made competent involuntarily. The Court accepts counsel's invitation, reads this incoherent term into the statute, ascribes it legal significance, and holds that a person may not be executed if he has become competent as the result of an unauthorized order to medicate. But a person who is competent only because of involuntary medication is still competent, and the statute allows such a person to be executed.3
While the Court does not dispute the fact that appellant is actually competent to be executed, in that he meets the requirements of Art. 46.05(h), the Court nevertheless concludes that “[t]he finding that appellant is competent must be reversed for lack of any evidentiary support.” The Court attempts to reconcile these irreconcilable positions in a manner that is inconsistent with our caselaw regarding how we review the sufficiency of evidence. For sufficiency purposes, we do not ignore evidence simply because it was procured through invalid means.4 To distinguish this case from a long line of cases that say as much, the Court attempts to analogize this case to Dansby.5 But in Dansby we did not ignore evidence at all. We said there that a trial court abuses its discretion in revoking probation for a defendant's refusal to incriminate himself, and if that refusal has caused his removal from a probation program, the trial court abuses its discretion in revoking probation for that reason.6 Dansby does not support the Court's decision to disregard evidence that appellant is competent.
Finally, even if the trial court lacked authority to medicate appellant, the only proper remedy would be for this Court to overturn the involuntary-medication order. As long as the death-row inmate is actually competent, he is, by statute, eligible for execution. If, as a result of the overturning of an involuntary-medication order, the death-row inmate becomes incompetent before he is executed, then a motion to stay his execution can be filed under Chapter 46. Defense counsel's creative argument obscures the fact that there is no justification for conflating the issue of authority to medicate with the issue of competence to be executed.
I respectfully dissent.
The majority is looking at this case from the wrong direction. The majority decides that the trial judge did not have authority to involuntarily medicate Appellant because the competency-to-be-executed statute under Code of Criminal Procedure Article 46.05 does not expressly authorize court-ordered medications. The majority reasons that if the legislature had intended for court-ordered medications to be part of the competency-to-be-executed statute, it would have stated so as it did in Article 46B.086 related to competency to stand trial. I disagree. The legislature did not need to include language regarding involuntary medication in the competency-to-be-executed statute because the trial court has inherent authority to order medication under its authority to enforce the judgment. Even though the trial court already possessed this inherent authority to implement forced medication to make someone competent to stand trial, the legislature enacted that particular statute as a measure to instruct the trial court how to proceed. See Tex.Code Crim. Proc. art. 46B.086. This is no different than what the legislature has done in other instances where the trial court already had inherent authority to implement certain procedures. See Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79, 106 S.Ct. 1712, 90 L.Ed.2d 69 (1986). In the situation here, the trial judge is already vested with the authority to enforce the judgment of execution and he has apparent authority to take measures necessary to do so as long as those measures do not violate the appellant's rights. What the majority does not seem to understand or has somehow just overlooked is the reality of what has transpired in this case-that the trial judge (with or without authority) ordered that the defendant be forcibly medicated. At the later competency hearing, the defendant was found to be competent to be executed. So, the question really is whether Appellant's rights were violated by court-ordered medication. Although Appellant should not be entitled to relief unless he shows that the court-ordered medication violated his rights, the majority declines to consider the issues Appellant raised under the Texas and United States Constitutions.1
The issue raised in this case is similar to the situation where a defendant is shackled during trial and complains on appeal that being forced to wear restraints violated his right to a fair trial. There is no statute that gives the judge the authority to restrain the defendant, but he has inherent authority to order that a defendant wear shackles if it is necessary to prevent escape or disruption by the prisoner or to protect the safety of the parties, witnesses, jury, and others who may be present in the courtroom. A defendant who was shackled at trial is entitled to relief only if he was restrained without justification and he shows that his right to a fair trial was violated by being forced to wear restraints in the presence of the jury.
I would consider Appellant's constitutional claims and hold that the judge's decision to order Appellant to be medicated did not violate the prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. Therefore, I respectfully dissent.
ALCALA, J., delivered the opinion of the Court in which PRICE, WOMACK, JOHNSON, and COCHRAN, JJ., joined. KELLER, P.J., filed a dissenting opinion in which HERVEY and KEASLER, JJ., joined. MEYERS, J., filed a dissenting opinion in which KELLER, P.J., and Hervey, J., joined.