Berger, Reed, Shaw Geter, JJ.
case, we consider the extent to which a circuit court may
dictate the conditions of detention for an individual who is
awaiting a psychological examination to determine his or her
competency to stand trial and his or her criminal
responsibility for the charged offenses under Maryland Code
(2001, 2008 Repl. Vol., 2015 Supp.) §§3-105 and
3-111 of the Criminal Procedure ("C.P.") Article.
State Department of Health and Mental Hygiene ("The
Department"), appeals from the January 13 and January
14, 2016 orders of the Circuit Court for Baltimore City
ordering the immediate transportation of Larry Dixon,
appellant, for in-patient admission to Clifton T. Perkins
Hospital Center ("Perkins"), the psychiatric
facility where his competency and criminal responsibility
evaluations would be completed. In their timely appeal, the
Department questions whether the circuit court's orders
violated the plain language of C.P. §§3-105 and
counsel, Dixon has filed a motion to dismiss the
Department's appeal, asserting that because the
Department has already completed his competency evaluation,
found him to be incompetent to stand trial at this time, and
committed him for ongoing in-patient psychiatric care, the
question presented by the Department is moot.
is moot when there is "no longer an existing controversy
when the case comes before the Court or when there is no
longer an effective remedy the Court could grant."
Suter v. Stuckey, 402 Md. 211, 219-20 (2007)
(citing, among other cases, Dep't of Human Res. v.
Roth, 398 Md. 137, 143 (2007)). As a general rule,
courts do not entertain moot controversies. Suter,
402 Md. at 219. There are, however, circumstances in which
this Court will address the merits of a moot case. The first
is where the controversy, even though moot at the time of
judicial review, "is capable of repetition but evading
review." Sanchez v. Potomac Abatement, Inc.,
198 Md.App. 436, 443 (2011). The second exception
"allows us to express our views on the merits of a moot
case to prevent harm to the public interest."
Id. at 443 (footnote omitted).
the relevant statutes specify that competency and
responsibility examinations must be completed within a
certain time after they are ordered,  it is most unlikely that
appellate review would ever be accomplished before a
court-ordered examination was completed in this case or in
any other. C.P. §3-105(d)(2); C.P. §3-111(c)(2).
Consequently, we are persuaded that the issue presented is
capable of repetition yet evading review and is, therefore,
not moot.  The motion to dismiss is denied.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
evening of July 3, 2015, the police responded to a report of
a shooting at 3429 West Caton Avenue in Baltimore City. They
were met by Dixon who, when asked where the injured person
was, appeared to be very agitated. When one of the officers
requested that Dixon calm down, Dixon responded, "How
can I not be excited? I just shot someone."
entering the residence, the police discovered a man (later
identified as Keith Glascoe), lying on the floor in the
kitchen. He had been shot in the left side. Glascoe was
transported by ambulance to Shock Trauma Center, but later
died as a result of his injuries. The police recovered a
shotgun from a second-floor bedroom of the residence and a
shotgun pellet from the kitchen floor.
was arrested and charged with first and second degree murder
and first degree assault. From July of 2015 to January of
2016, Dixon was incarcerated in general population housing at
the detention center. While in detention, Dixon was seen four
times by a mental health clinician. Dixon reported that he
was experiencing depression, anxiety, and interrupted sleep
and that he had stopped taking his prescribed medication.
Dixon's family told Dixon's attorney that Dixon
"minimized his mental health issues, was paranoid about
correctional officers . . . [and] his court proceedings, and
had unrealistic beliefs about the criminal justice
system." Dixon's wife said that, prior to his
arrest, he had become increasingly paranoid and was hearing
December 16, 2015, the circuit court entered an order
requiring the Department to examine Dixon for criminal
responsibility and competency to stand trial. A psychologist
employed by the Department performed an initial evaluation of
Dixon pursuant to the court's order. In a letter dated
January 8, 2016, the Department psychologist requested an
additional sixty days to allow the Department to conduct a
more extensive evaluation of Dixon's competency and
criminal responsibility. The Department psychologist stated
that she had "made arrangements with the Pretrial
Evaluation Unit of the Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center for
Mr. Dixon's further evaluation" and noted that
"[d]epending on the hospital's assessment of the
defendant's clinical condition and need for inpatient
psychiatric care, the evaluation may be conducted on an
inpatient or outpatient basis."
circuit court considered the psychologist's letter at a
hearing on January 13, 2016. As required by C.P.
§3-105(d), the court found good cause to extend the time
for the Department to conduct its examination of Dixon's
competency to stand trial. The court also issued two orders
on January 13, 2016. The first order, issued in accordance
with C.P. §3-105, extended the period for Dixon's
competency examination and provided, in pertinent part,
"because of the apparent severity of the mental disorder
. . . the Court has found that the Defendant would be
endangered by confinement in a correctional facility."
The order required the Department of Public Safety and
Correctional Services ("DPSCS") to immediately
transport Dixon to Perkins, where he "shall be admitted
as an inpatient and remain hospitalized until further order
of [the] Court."
second order, issued in accordance with C.P. §3-111,
extended the period for Dixon's criminal responsibility
examination and required the Department to immediately
transport Dixon to Perkins. In an order signed on January 14,
2016, the court clarified that DCPSS was to transport Dixon
to Perkins on "Tuesday, January 19, 2016 at 10:00 for
admission and treatment[, ]" and that Dixon was to
remain at Perkins "until further order of this
Court." The Department timely filed a notice of appeal
on February 12, 2016. In a report dated April 8, 2016, the
Department concluded that Dixon was not competent to stand
Department contends that the court's orders usurped the
role of the Department by dictating the timing and conditions
of Dixon's confinement before, during, and after the
Department's evaluations of his competency and criminal
responsibility. The Department asserts that the plain
language of the relevant statutes requires that, as a
default, criminal defendants will be confined in a
correctional facility until the Department is able to conduct
the ordered competency and responsibility examinations. The
Department maintains that the statutes commit to the
discretion of the Department all determinations regarding
when and where court-ordered examinations will be performed
and grant the Department the discretion to determine whether
to retain a criminal defendant after he or she is examined or
to return the defendant to the court or a correctional
facility. The Department concludes that the circuit court
overstepped its authority and violated the plain language of
the relevant statutes.
interpretation of a statute is a question of law, which we
consider de novo." Harrison-Solomon v.
State, 442 Md. 254, 265 (2015)). The Court of Appeals,
specifically addressing the application of Title 3 of the
Criminal Procedure Article, has provided the following