MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. — A Montgomery County mother accused of killing her two children is expected to appear in court on Thursday.
Catherine Hoggle faces murder charges in the disappearance of her two kids back in 2014, however she has never been found competent to stand trial. Now, it's possible those murder charges could be dropped.
On Thursday, a judge will decide whether Hoggle has made enough progress to face the charges in court, if not, she could walk free.
Catherine Hoggle was the last person to see 2-year-old Jacob and 3-year-old Sarah Hoggle, and has been confined to a mental hospital since the children disappeared in September 2014. She was initially arrested and charged with misdemeanors in their disappearance.
In July 2019, a Maryland judge granted the prosecution's motion for a new psychiatrist to assess whether or not Hoggle was competent to stand trial.
Hoggle was first found incompetent in 2015 after she was charged with child abduction. Those misdemeanor charges were later dismissed. Hoggle's lawyers thus filed a motion to dismiss, arguing the five-year clock expired in 2020.
Last year, Hoggle lost a motion to dismiss the case, according to a Maryland Court of Special Appeals decision. The court's opinion says the statutory five-year period for dismissal of the murder charges began when the circuit court found that the defendant was incompetent to stand trial on murder charges, not when the district court had found the defendant incompetent to stand trial on the misdemeanor charges.
As a result, Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy would have until December 2022 to bring the case to trial, if Hoggle is ever ruled competent to stand trial.
Hoggle has been treated for mental illness at a hospital in Jessup, Maryland, since 2015. Her doctors say her condition hasn't improved.
If she is again ruled not competent, she would be released from the criminal commitment at the hospital to a civil commitment.
The state's attorney for Maryland has said that if at any point in the future she is found competent to stand trial, they can reinstitute the charges.
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