CHRISTOPHER ALLEN JOINER A/K/A CHRISTOPHER JOINER A/K/A CHRISTOPHER A. JOINER A/K/A CHRIS JOINER APPELLANT
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE
OF JUDGMENT: 10/04/2016
COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. DALE HARKEY TRIAL JUDGE
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER BY:
GEORGE T. HOLMES.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY:
ABBIE EASON KOONCE.
GRIFFIS, P.J., WESTBROOKS AND TINDELL, JJ.
Christopher Allen Joiner appeals his convictions for three
counts of armed robbery under Mississippi Code Annotated
section 97-7-79(2) (Rev. 2014). He argues that the trial
court improperly denied his request for a mental evaluation
to determine whether he was fit to stand trial. We find no
error and affirm.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
On February 1, 2016, after he was indicted, Joiner filed a
motion to proceed pro se. In the motion, Joiner stated that
he had asked his first appointed attorney for a psychological
evaluation. Joiner provided no other basis, reasoning, or
explanation for such an evaluation. Then on May 24, 2016,
five months before his trial, Joiner was appointed new trial
Joiner made no further mention of his request for a
psychological evaluation to his new attorney or to the judge
in his numerous pretrial court appearances. Then Joiner was
offered a plea deal. Joiner discussed the details of his case
and the plea with his attorney, and then with the judge.
Nevertheless, Joiner rejected the plea offer and decided to
go to trial.
The trial began on October 3, 2016. At trial, Joiner
mentioned his request for a psychological evaluation to his
new attorney and subsequently to the judge. This was the
first time Joiner had mentioned it since the motion to
proceed pro se. After a discussion between Joiner, his
attorney, and the judge, the motion for a psychological
evaluation was denied.
The jury found Joiner guilty of all three armed-robbery
counts. He was sentenced to life in the custody of the
Mississippi Department of Corrections on each count, with the
sentences in Counts II and III to run concurrently with each
other and consecutively to the sentence imposed in Count I.
Joiner filed a motion for a new trial and raised the issue of
the psychological evaluation. The court denied the motion,
and Joiner has timely appealed.
Constitutional due process requires that a person accused of
a crime may only be tried if he is legally competent.
Lokos v. Capps, 625 F.2d 1258, 1261 (5th Cir. 1980).
Uniform Rule of Circuit and County Court 9.06 requires a
trial court to order a defendant to undergo a mental
examination if, upon "its own motion or upon motion of
an attorney, [the trial court] has reasonable ground to
believe that the defendant is incompetent to stand
trial[.]" The determination of whether a trial court
has a "reasonable ground" to suspect mental
incompetency is within the discretion of the trial court.
Harden v. State, 59 So.3d 594, 601 (¶14) (Miss.
2011). This discretion is broad in determining whether to