CRIMINAL: Competency hearings, insanity; RCr 11.42 limitations and tolling for juveniles, new mental evaluation — COM. OF KENTUCKY V. MICHAEL CARNEAL (SC 11/26/2008)

COM. OF KENTUCKY V. MICHAEL CARNEAL
CRIMINAL:  Competency hearings, insanity; RCr 11.42 limitations and
tolling for juveniles, new mental evaluation
2006-SC-000653-DG.pdf
PUBLISHED: AFFIRMING I  PART, REVERSING IN PART
OPINION BY CUNNINGHAM;  MINTON NOT SITTING
MCCRACKEN COUNTY
DATE RENDERED: 11/26/2008

The Commonwealth appeals from a decision of the Court of Appeals reversing the McCracken Circuit Court's denial of Michael Carneal's motion for post-conviction relief. In that motion, Carneal moved the trial court to allow him to withdraw his guilty plea on the grounds of ineffective assistance of counsel, and that new, previously unavailable psychological information called into question his competency at both the time of his plea and the time of the offense. Circuit Court rejected the motion. The Court of Appeals reversed, and SC granted discretionary review. Here, SC reversed CA and reinstated the judgment of the McCracken Circuit Court.

The thrust of Carneal's post-conviction motion is that he was misdiagnosed when evaluated following the crime. SC held that for purposes of post-conviction relief, a youthful offender's original sentencing order is a final judgment. Therefore, Carneal's RCr 11.42 motion is untimely, as it was filed more than three years after his sentencing. Insofar as Carneal requests tolling of the statute of limitations for his RCr 11.42 claim of incompetence to stand trial due to minority, SC did not consider these arguments on appeal as they were not presented to the trial court. The holding of the Court of Appeals that the RCr 11.42(10) statute of limitations was tolled until Carneal attained the age of eighteen is reversed.

RCr 11.42 does not restrict a petitioner's access to habeas corpus relief pursuant to KRS 419.020 or Section 16 of the Kentucky Constitution, and therefore, is not unconstitutional. The claim of ineffective assistance of counsel was properly rejected. SC did not believe the trial court abused its discretion in rejecting Carneal's motion for a new trial as untimely.

Digested by Scott C. Byrd
www.olginandbyrd.com 

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