P. J., COOMER and MARKLE, JJ.
jury trial, Lance Beach, who represented himself at trial,
was convicted of one count of child
molestation. After the trial court denied Beach's
amended motion for a new trial filed through counsel, Beach
filed this appeal, also with the assistance of counsel. Beach
argues that the trial court erred (1) by failing to
re-evaluate his competency to stand trial; and (2) by
permitting the admission of evidence of a prior bad act after
ruling that the evidence was inadmissible . For the reasons
that follow, we affirm the judgment in part, reverse in part,
and remand the case for a hearing on Beach's competency
at the time of trial pursuant to OCGA § 17-7-130 (d).
in favor of the verdict,  the record shows that Beach is the
great-uncle of L. F., who was 12 years old at the time of the
incident. L. F. lived with her mother and her grandfather in
a two-bedroom apartment; her grandfather normally slept in L.
F.'s bedroom, and she slept on a couch in the living
room. Beach had been living in the apartment with them for a
few months, and he slept on the other couch.
night of October 21, 2012, L. F. was watching television in
the living room with Beach while her mother was asleep. At
some point, Beach turned off the television, moved over to L.
F.'s couch, and touched her breasts and buttocks with his
hands over her clothes but underneath a blanket that covered
her. Beach also attempted to force his hands between L.
F.'s tightly closed legs to touch her vagina.
Beach ceased touching her, L. F. got up and went to the
bathroom and then to her bedroom to sleep. She also sent a
text to her mother at 12:44 a.m., making an outcry of
molestation, stating that "Uncle Lance touched me in
inappropriate places last night. That's why when y[o]u
wake me up [I'm going to] be in my bed." The text
message also included a frowning emoji face with a tear. L.
F.'s mother read the text message when she awoke at
approximately 4:00 a.m., immediately woke L. F., who told her
mother about the incident. The mother testified that L. F.
acted scared and cried; L. F.'s aunt also testified that
L. F. made an identical outcry to her, acting upset and
mother confronted Beach, who neither admitted nor denied the
molestation, and thereafter, the mother kicked him out of the
apartment and called police. A sexual assault exam was
performed on the victim, and the sexual assault nurse
testified that the exam revealed no injuries, which was
consistent with the type of molestation alleged to have
occurred by L. F. At the conclusion of trial, the jury found
Beach guilty, and after the trial court denied his amended
motion for new trial (at which time Beach was represented by
counsel), this appeal followed.
Beach does not argue on appeal that the evidence was
insufficient to support the verdict, we note that the
evidence as presented meets the requirements set forth in
Jackson v. Virginia.
Beach argues that the trial court erred by failing to
properly assess his competence to stand trial.
Factual background. On October 1, 2013, the trial
court ordered a mental evaluation regarding Beach's
competency to stand trial, including whether he was capable
of distinguishing right from wrong or whether he was
suffering from a delusional compulsion. On June 24, 2014, the
trial court held a status hearing on the case, at which time
Beach stated that he wished to represent himself. While
engaging in a Faretta hearing, the trial court again
expressed its worry about some of the statements Beach was
making and inquired whether he had been in any sort of mental
health counseling. Beach stated that he did not need any
counseling, and was only taking blood pressure medication;
Beach then complained that jailors were tampering with his
food by adding medications. During the hearing, the public
defender explained that Beach refused to meet with her, and
it was revealed that Beach had had a mental health evaluation
in March 2014. The hearing concluded with a notation from the
court that "Beach also had an outburst in court that
made no . . . sense . . . ."
October 23, 2014, the trial court again held a status
conference with Beach, at which he made accusations against
the public defender: "she has been forcing her
representation on me. She also has been interfering and
tampering with my mail. And as of June 24, I'm sure that
treason was established by her following my mail
constantly." Thereafter, the trial court entered an
order directing 90 days of observation of Beach by the
Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental
Disabilities ("DBHDD") and the Department of Human
Resources ("DHR") to determine his competency.
January 9, 2015, the trial court entered an order directing
the public defender's office to represent Beach because a
psychiatrist at Georgia Regional Hospital had opined that
Beach was incompetent and could therefore not waive his right
to counsel; the court, however, did not actually find that
Beach was incompetent but rather that his "competency is
February 18, 2015, the court conducted a hearing to determine
whether Beach was competent to stand trial and on whether to
forcibly medicate Beach pursuant to Sell v. United
States. At the hearing, psychiatrists testified
that Beach was diagnosed with schizophrenia, and he was
offered antipsychotic medication for the disorder. Beach
"had some difficulties with his ability to assist his
attorney, given that he [had] paranoid delusions, meaning
that the thoughts that he had were not based in reality and
were paranoid in nature. And [he] also had significant
disorganized thought process, which limited his ability to
effectively assist his attorney."
February 20, 2015, nunc pro tunc to February 18, 2015, the
trial court found Beach incompetent to stand trial and
directed DHR to reevaluate him in 90 days. On February 20,
2015, the trial court also entered an order directing the
DBHDD to forcibly administer the psychotropic medications
necessary to restore Beach's competency.
record contains production orders for status conferences
during 2015, but no hearing transcript appears in the record
for those dates. The next hearing occurred on March 14, 2016,
with a new judge presiding and conducting a second
Faretta hearing. At the hearing, in response to the
judge's question as to whether Beach had "ever been
under the care of a psychiatrist, psychologist, or other
mental health professional," Beach responded
"no." The defense attorney interjected at this
Defense Counsel: Your honor, he is currently located at
Georgia Regional[, ] and so he needs to understand that you
are also talking about what his current care is now.
The Court: Well[, ] I just asked if he's under the care
of any psychiatrist, psychologist, or other mental health
professional[, ] and you said no. Do you want to change your
The Court: Okay. Tell me about that?
Beach: I'm at Georgia Regional right now under ...