State v. Honorable Pamela S. GatesAnnotate this Case
At issue was the procedure for evaluating a capital defendant’s intellectual disability (ID) status before trial.
Ariz. Rev. Stat. 13-753(B) provides that the trial court shall order a pretrial ID evaluation in every capital case unless the defendant objects, and if the defendant objects, the defendant waives the right to a pretrial evaluation. In the instant case, more than two years after filing his objection to an ID evaluation and four months before the scheduled trial, Defendant moved to withdraw his objection to court-ordered testing. The trial court granted the motion, concluding that section 13-753(B) permitted Defendant to reinstate his right to a pretrial ID evaluation by withdrawing his objection. The Supreme Court vacated the trial court’s order and remanded the case for consideration of Defendant’s request for an ID evaluation, holding (1) a defendant cannot void his waiver under section 13-753(B) by later withdrawing his objection; but (2) a defendant’s waiver does not deprive the court of its discretionary authority to order a pretrial ID evaluation if the defendant later requests or consents to one.