The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruling in Druery v. Texas is available in Adobe .pdf format.
Today, in a unanimous decision, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled that death row prisoner Marcus Druery is entitled to a hearing to determine his competency to be executed. On July 27, 2012, the Court of Criminal Appeals stayed Mr. Druery's execution to consider his appeal for a hearing to determine whether his psychotic disorder renders him incompetent. The case is now remanded for competency proceedings to the 85th Judicial District Court in Brazos County.
Kate Black, Marus Druery's attorney, issued the following statement in response:
"We are pleased that the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals found sufficient evidence of Marcus Druery's severe mental illness to warrant competency proceedings. Much of the evidence of Mr. Druery's mental illness comes from the State's own mental health professionals, who have repeatedly diagnosed Mr. Druery as schizophrenic, paranoid and delusional. A full hearing is critically important to establish that Mr. Druery lacks a rational understanding of his execution. We are confident that the Brazos County District Court will give Mr. Druery's case the thorough and fair consideration it deserves in order to ensure that Texas does not execute a severely psychotic man."
"Bryan Death Row Inmate Gets New Competency Hearing," is the KBTX-TV post by Steve Fullhart.
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has ruled a Bryan man whose execution was put on hold deserves a competency hearing to determine whether he is fit to die for his crimes.
Marcus Druery had originally been due to die August 1, 2012 for shooting death of Skyyler Browne, who was murdered on Halloween 2002. Druery's lawyers argued the 33-year-old had a schizophrenia diagnosis, and lacked a rational understanding that he was going to die despite a factual understanding.
In the United States, an inmate must be aware of their execution and why they are being put to death prior to the execution.
Judge J.D. Langley of Brazos County's 85th District Court denied a defense motion for a competency hearing on July 24, 2012. Three days later, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals stayed Druery's execution until they could further review the case.
Wednesday, the court ordered the defense-requested competency hearing to take place in Langley's court, saying "the trial court erred in weighing the credible evidence of Appellant's incompetency against credible evidence of his competency to determine that he had not made a 'substantial showing' of incompetency."
The Bryan-College Station Eagle posts, "Brazos County death row inmate to get competency hearing," by Maggie Kiely.
At various hearings concerning Druery’s mental state in 2012, defense attorneys Kate Black and Greg Wiercioch argued that their client met the criteria for incompetency and doesn’t have a “rational understanding” of why he’s to be executed, which would make him ineligible for the death penalty.
Langley denied Druery’s request for competency proceedings in July 2012 after finding that “statements that the defendant made in the courtroom” show that he did understand why he was going to be executed.
But the appellate court unanimously disagreed, stating in an opinion released Wednesday that Langley “erred in weighing the credible evidence of appellant’s incompetency against credible evidence of his competency to determine that he had not made a ‘substantial showing’ of incompetency.”
While on death row, Druery has reported hearing “voices” giving him demands and has repeatedly insisted his cell is wired, according to court documents.
In recent years, Druery has been diagnosed as schizophrenic by more than one psychiatrist — including a doctor hired by the defense who concluded Druery’s delusional beliefs kept him from fully understanding his punishment.
Update - The Texas Tribune posts, "Court Orders New Mental Competency Hearing in Death Penalty Case," by Brandi Grissom.
Druery's lawyers contend that his psychotic disorder renders him incompetent for lethal injection. In their unanimous decision to send the case back to the trial court, the nine judges on the appeals court panel wrote that Druery had made a "substantial showing of incompetency to be executed" and that he is entitled to both a hearing and the appointment of at least two mental health experts to determine his competency.
"Much of the evidence of Mr. Druery's mental illness comes from the State's own mental health professionals, who have repeatedly diagnosed Mr. Druery as schizophrenic, paranoid and delusional," Kate Black, a lawyer at the Texas Defender Service who represents the inmate, said in a statement. "A full hearing is critically important to establish that Mr. Druery lacks a rational understanding of his execution."
Earlier coverage of Marcus Druery's case begins at the link.
The Supreme Court established standards to assess whether severely mentally ill inmates are competent to be executed in the 1986 case, Ford v. Wainwright; more via Oyez. The Court revisited the issue in its 2007 ruling in Panetti v. Quarterman, also via Oyez.