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Court to appoint third doctor on competency in sex case

By Kathy Prucnell, Islander Reporter

Yet another doctor will be asked for an opinion on whether a Bradenton Beach man alleged to have sex with a 15-year-old is fit to stand trial.

Joseph Edmund Chiquet is in his third year in Manatee County jail awaiting trial on felony charges of having sex with a minor, child pornography and witness tampering.

By a Dec. 3 order, 12th Judicial Circuit Judge Thomas Krug appointed psychologists Eddy Regnier and Mary Elizabeth Kasper of Sarasota to evaluate Chiquet’s mental capacity.

“Two doctors were appointed,” said assistant State Attorney Anthony DaFonseca after a Jan. 16 docket sounding. “One came back competent. One came back incompetent. So we’re going to have a third doctor appointed.”

The psychologists were asked to evaluate the defendant’s understanding of the charges against him; his capacity to disclose pertinent facts; his ability to exhibit appropriate courtroom behavior; and capacity to testify relevantly and cope with the stress of incarceration prior to trial.

The doctors’ reports were sealed Jan. 8 by the court.

Chiquet’s attorney Mark Lipinski raised the competency issue June 27, and filed a prior report by Regnier, which he said found his client incompetent. Regnier’s report described Chiquet as severely depressed, homicidal and suicidal. It also concluded, “He should be hospitalized in a state hospital where he can be medicated involuntarily.”

Chiquet was arrested in 2009 after he allegedly had sex with a teenager and took sexual photographs of her in his Bradenton Beach apartment. Search warrants yielded additional child pornography from his computers, according to police records.

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 and he was returned to jail.

Two appeals have further prolonged the case — one by the defense and one by the prosecution — regarding the discovery of evidence.

The case was originally scheduled for a July 2012 trial, and postponed to Jan. 28. At the Jan. 16 docket sounding, the trial date was set for April 1.

The competency issue must be determined before a trial. DaFonseca said he’ll be meeting with Chiquet’s attorney Mark Lipinski to recommend another doctor to evaluate Chiquet’s competency.

A 10 a.m. March 20 docket sounding will be the next hearing.

All hearings are held in Courtroom 6A at the Manatee County Judicial Center, 1051 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton.

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