Submitted March 18, 2014
Approved for Publication September 9, 2014.
On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Ocean County, Indictment No. 06-11-2612. December 5, 2011, Submitted; October 9, 2012, Decided; September 20, 2013, Remanded by Supreme Court.
Joseph E. Krakora, Public Defender, attorney for appellant ( Michele Adubato, Designated Counsel, on the briefs).
Christopher J. Gramiccioni, Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor, attorney for respondent ( Patricia B. Quelch, Special Deputy Attorney General/Acting Assistant Prosecutor, and Mary R. Juliano, Special Deputy Attorney General/Acting Assistant Prosecutor, of counsel and on the briefs).
Before Judges ALVAREZ, OSTRER and CARROLL. The opinion of the court was delivered by ALVAREZ, J.A.D.
[437 N.J.Super. 341] ALVAREZ, J.A.D.
A jury found defendant June Gorthy, also known as June Governale, not guilty by reason of insanity, N.J.S.A. 2C:4-1, on a charge of fourth-degree stalking, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-10(b). Before the trial commenced, the trial judge found her competent to stand trial while unable to " voluntarily, intelligently, and knowingly waive" the insanity defense as to the stalking count. Defendant was sentenced to commitment in a mental health facility for a term not to exceed eighteen months.
After defendant's trial, but prior to our decision on her appeal, we decided State v. Handy, 421 N.J.Super. 559, 25 A.3d 1140 [437 N.J.Super. 342] (App.Div. 2011). In Handy, we concluded that a defendant found competent to stand trial, but not able to knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily waive the insanity defense to a crime, should not be compelled to accept an acquittal by reason of insanity unless his or her substantive defenses are addressed first. See id. at 565, 25 A.3d 1140. Only if the jury rejected a defendant's substantive defenses would defendant then present the insanity defense. Handy, supra, 421 N.J.Super. at 612-13, 25 A.3d 1140. Consistent with our decision in Handy, we remanded to the trial court, to afford defendant the opportunity for a new trial on the stalking charge -- if she were again found competent to stand trial and if she opted to waive double jeopardy. That new trial would follow the bifurcated order described in our decision in Handy -- an initial trial at which defendant would present substantive defense theories, and if convicted, a second trial at which she would present only the insanity defense.
When the State's appeal of our decision reached the Supreme Court, Handy and its predecessor, State v. Khan, 175 N.J.Super. 72, 417 A.2d 585 (App.Div. 1980), were overruled in part, and the bifurcated procedure was disapproved. State v. Handy, 215 N.J. 334, 73 A.3d 421 (2013). Henceforth, " trials involving a substantive defense and the insanity defense [would] be tried in a unitary proceeding." Id. at 364, 73 A.3d 421.
The Court also supplied the analytical solution to the quandary posed by a defendant found competent to stand trial, who
wishes to waive the insanity defense altogether when that option appears unwise. As the Court said,
part of the legacy of the Khan decision has been confusion about whether one can be competent to stand trial but incompetent to waive the insanity defense . . . . Part of the confusion arises from the assumption that the question involves not so much the defendant's ...