The Third District Court of Appeal on Wednesday jumped into the murky waters in the case of a criminal defendant who was deemed incompetent to stand trial but not because of mental illness.
Hugo Miranda was charged with aggravated stalking of two minors. He was released on bond with the stipulation that he have no contact with the victims, but he violated that condition was put back in jail.
Miranda was found to be incompetent because he was incapable of understanding judicial procedures. But because he was not mentally ill, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Jorge Rodriguez-Chomat said he had no other option but to release Miranda.
One of three psychiatrists who examined Miranda described him as a “primitive individual at the cognitive level” and opined that the defendant “appears to be cognitively and intellectually limited and likely functions at a borderline intellectual level.”
Judge Leslie Rothenberg, writing for the three-judge appellate panel, said Rodriguez-Chomat should have held an evidentiary hearing to determine whether any other options were available. The appellate court ordered Rodriguez-Chomat to determine whether Miranda should receive treatment.
Rothenberg stressed the court was not recommending jail again for Miranda unless he violates court orders or conditions of his release.