As we previously reported, Unexpected dad Max Schenzel pleaded guilty in August to a felony theft charge after allegedly stealing money and a credit card from the sleeping 77-year-old grandmother of a friend back in June. Max’s sentencing was scheduled for last week, but has been delayed after his attorney petitioned the court to have Max submit to a mental evaluation to determine whether he’s competent to stand trial.
Max’s attorney filed for what’s called a “Rule 11 Evaluation.” Here’s an explanation of Rule 11 from legal advice website AVVO.com:
Under Rule 11, a defendant has the right to a mental examination and hearing when reasonable grounds for an examination exist. “Reasonable grounds exist when ‘there is sufficient evidence to indicate that the defendant is not able to understand the nature of the proceeding against him and to assist in his defense.’”
Under Arizona law, a defendant cannot be prosecuted if unable to understand the charges or the proceeding against him due to a mental illness, defect, or disability. Prosecution is also not allowed if the defendant is unable to assist in his own defense due to the same reason or reasons.
These are some of the pertinent definitions in Max’s case, per Arizona’s statutes:
Mental Illness, Defect, or Disability – “Mental illness, defect, or disability” means a psychiatric or neurological disorder that is evidenced by behavioral or emotional symptoms, including congenital mental conditions, conditions resulting from injury or disease, and developmental disabilities as defined in A.R.S. § 36-551.
Incompetence – “Incompetence” means a defendant is unable to understand the nature and objective of the proceedings or to assist in his or her defense because of a mental illness, defect, or disability.
Effect of Incompetence – A defendant may not be tried, convicted, or sentenced while that defendant is incompetent. A defendant is not incompetent to stand trial merely because the defendant has a mental illness, defect, or disability. This rule does not bar a court from proceeding under A.R.S. § 36-3707(D).
The judge in Max’s case granted his attorney’s motion, so the next step is for Max to undergo a mental evaluation. His next court appearance is a Rule 11 hearing scheduled for November, by which time I assume Max’s mental evaluation will be complete.
According to the Rule 11 motion ruling, Max must adhere to his previous plea agreement if he is deemed competent to stand trial. The ruling also mentions electronic monitoring and an MRI exam:
IT IS ORDERED denying Defendant’s motion without prejudice to refile at a later date, in accordance with a stipulated motion to remove electronic monitoring for the limited purpose of an MRI, after Defense counsel provides appropriate medical documentation to the State.
We will continue to monitor Max’s case and will update when we know more.