Whether a Bradenton Beach man is fit to stand trial will be determined by the 12th Judicial Circuit Court following a psychologist’s evaluation — a doctor hired by the state.
Joseph Edmund Chiquet is in his third year in Manatee County jail awaiting trial on charges of having sex with a minor, child pornography and witness tampering.
Chiquet’s doctors questioned his fitness to stand trial in a report filed June 27 with the court. According to defense attorney Mark Lipinski they found Chiquet incompetent.
A Nov. 21 hearing was set for the judge to determine the issue, but a snafu in paperwork caused a postponement for about 30 days, according to assistant state attorney Anthony DaFonseca.
“(Chiquet’s) attorney didn’t file the appropriate motion,” he said. “He needed to have an order signed by the judge. There was nothing in the file allowing the state to evaluate him.”
The prosecutor said after the state-retained psychologist submits the evaluation, the attorneys could stipulate to the admissibility of the doctors’ reports or an evidentiary hearing with their testimony could be required.
“That’s the only thing stopping it. I’ve been ready to go to trial,” DaFonseca said.
Chiquet, now 37, was arrested in 2009 after police were alerted to his alleged sexual relationship with a teenager, and that he took sexual photographs of her in his Bradenton Beach apartment. Search warrants allegedly yielded additional child pornography from Chiquet’s computers.
While out on bond in 2010, Chiquet was charged with offering $10,000 to a former girlfriend to tell police she was depicted in the photographs and not, as prosecutors allege, the 15-year-old girl.
After adding the bribery charge, the court revoked Chiquet’s bond.
Further prolonging the case has been two appeals, one by the defense and one by the prosecution, regarding the discovery of evidence.
Phone records of an assistant state attorney previously handling the case were sought as part of a defense that points to possible illegally taped discussions with the defendant, according to Lipinski. Some records were found admissible.
At a November court date, the case originally scheduled for a July trial was postponed to Jan. 28, 2013. A Jan. 16, 2013, docket sounding also is scheduled.
The hearings will be held before Judge Thomas Krug at the Manatee County Judicial Center, 1051 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton.