In re Sims CA4/2

Filed 7/21/21 In re Sims CA4/2 NOT TO BE PUBLISHED IN OFFICIAL REPORTS California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a), prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for publication or ordered published, except as specified by rule 8.1115(b). This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115. IN THE COURT OF APPEAL OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA FOURTH APPELLATE DISTRICT DIVISION TWO In re KAREN LEE SIMS on Habeas Corpus. E075363 (Super.Ct.No. BLF003752) OPINION _____________________________________ ORIGINAL PROCEEDINGS; petition for writ of habeas corpus. Richard A. Erwood, Judge. Petition granted. Michaela R. Dalton for Petitioner. Xavier Becerra, Attorney General, Lance E. Winters, Chief Assistant Attorney General, Julie L. Garland, Assistant Attorney General, Michael Pulos and Teresa Torreblanca, Deputy Attorneys General, for Respondent. Petitioner Karen Sims, a former attorney with serious mental illness of long standing, was convicted of murdering her husband Henry Sims in 2006 and was sentenced to prison for a term of 50 years to life. After her conviction and sentence were affirmed on direct appeal in 2008, she petitioned for a writ of habeas corpus in the 1 California Supreme Court in 2011, on the ground her conviction was invalid because she was incompetent to stand trial. An order to show cause (OSC) was issued by the Supreme Court, returnable in the Riverside County Superior Court, but was denied. In 2016, petitioner filed another petition for writ of habeas corpus in the Supreme Court on the same ground, with additional information about her postconviction mental health problems as they related to timeliness. The California Supreme Court again issued an OSC, this time returnable to this court. We granted the petition and remanded the matter again to the superior court for an evidentiary hearing, where we specified that counsel should present the testimony of Mr. Michael DeFrank, as well as any expert witnesses or mental health professionals who were aware of defendant’s mental health condition during the period between August and December 2006, or such other evidence as may constitute substantial evidence of defendant’s incompetence to stand trial. (In re Sims on Habeas Corpus (2018) 27 Cal.App.5th 197.) On remand, the court heard the testimony of petitioner’s trial counsel, which it found lacking in credibility, and that of petitioner, and denied the petition once again. This petition followed. Respondent, the People, argue that the court properly found the testimony of petitioner’s trial counsel lacked credibility and asserts that our previous remand order did not require the superior court to readdress petitioner’s claim that she was incompetent to stand trial. We grant the petition. 2 BACKGROUND We take the factual and procedural history from our previous opinion, In re Sims, supra, 27 Cal.App.5th at pages 200-203, which, in turn, incorporated information from this court’s opinion in the direct appeal. (People v. Sims (Nov. 17, 2008, E042064) [nonpub. opn.].) “Defendant has a history of mental illness that includes at least one prior hospitalization lasting two years and had manifested itself …

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