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State of Idaho v. Tyler Ray Carter

February 8, 2012

STATE OF IDAHO, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
TYLER RAY CARTER,
DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the District Court of the Fourth Judicial District, State of Idaho, Ada County. Hon. Thomas F. Neville, District Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Lansing, Judge

2012 Opinion No. 8

Stephen W. Kenyon, Clerk

Sentence for aggravated assault on a corrections officer, vacated and case remanded.

Tyler Ray Carter appeals from his conviction for aggravated assault on a correction facility officer, asserting two claims of error that relate to his sentencing proceedings. He contends that two psychological evaluations, conducted to determine his mental competence to aid in his defense, were erroneously included in the presentence investigation report and that the district court should have sua sponte ordered a psychological evaluation for use at sentencing.

I.

BACKGROUND

On May 12, 2009, while Carter was incarcerated at the Idaho Maximum Security Institution in the mental health tier, he caused a disturbance in the shower by breaking a chair and spitting on the window. A response team was called, and Carter was placed in arm and leg restraints. Officer Johnson was among several officers who participated in restraining Carter and escorting him back to his cell. As the group was walking, Carter suddenly bent down or leaned forward, and then sprung upward and backward, slamming his head into the right side of Officer Johnson's head. Officer Johnson suffered permanent injuries as a result of the impact.

Carter was charged with aggravated battery on a correctional officer, Idaho Code § 18- 915(2), with a persistent violator sentence enhancement, I.C. § 19-2514. At the request of defense counsel, the court ordered a competency evaluation pursuant to Idaho Code § 18-211. Dr. Chad Sombke evaluated Carter and prepared a report concluding that Carter was experiencing significant psychiatric symptoms but was competent to assist in his defense.

Carter originally pleaded not guilty, but on the morning of trial agreed to plead guilty in exchange for the State's agreement to dismiss the persistent violator enhancement. The district court accepted the plea and ordered a presentence investigation report (PSI). Defense counsel then requested that Carter's "psychiatric records" be attached to the PSI as follows:

[DEFENSE COUNSEL]: Also, Judge, if you could, as part of your order, incorporate that you would like to receive a copy of his psych--psychiatric records--that are already in the--

THE COURT: At IDOC [Idaho Department of Correction]?

[DEFENSE COUNSEL]: IDOC, and I believe under the supervision of Dr. Sombke. I think that--

THE COURT: Okay, okay. And--

[DEFENSE COUNSEL]: --would be helpful.

The judge thereupon explained to Carter that a presentence investigator would come to speak with him, and that her report would be treated seriously by the court. The judge then asked for permission from Carter to obtain his psychiatric records:

COURT: I'd like to have whatever psychiatric records exist out there in the world, including at Idaho Department of Corrections. Is that okay with you for me to have those records--

THE DEFENDANT: Yes.

COURT: --to know what the doctors have said about you, and what reports they've written?

THE DEFENDANT: Yes.

COURT: You understand why that might be important for ...


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