The wheels of justice continue to spin but do not move forward when it comes to the case of Catherine Hoggle. She was in Montgomery County District Court Tuesday morning where she was once again deemed not competent to stand trial and participate in her defense on misdemeanor charges of child neglect and obstructing and hindering an investigation after going missing in Germantown with her two young children, Jacob, and Sarah, in September of 2014.
Hoggle has been at Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center. The children remain missing, and Montgomery County Police and the Maryland State’s Attorney’s Office are continuing to pursue homicide charges against Hoggle, which will move the case from the District Court to the Circuit Court, but those charges have yet to be filed.
Hoggle appeared in court this morning in a tan button-down shirt and tortoise-shell rimmed glasses. She did not speak in court and remained handcuffed the entire time.
District Court Judge Eugene Wolfe again declared Hoggle not competent based on the mental evaluations by doctors at Clifton T. Perkins Hospital. Judge Wolfe said that, once again, the doctors believe that that Hoggle’s mental capacity can be restored. As such, Judge Wolfe ordered another status hearing to be held on September 27.
“There was a report issued by the doctors at Perkins, the court accepted the report determining that Ms. Hoggle is still incompetent,” said Hoggle’s attorney David Felsen outside the courthouse in Rockville after the hearing. “I think it is fair to say that there has not been substantial chang. We are dealing with profound mental health issues here, and things change over the course of time, there is a period of time when things look better and a period when things are worse. I think that is reflected in the report.”
“We are back to a delay again until September,” said Hoggle’s mother, Lindsey Hoggle after the hearing. “This is just unacceptable that we continue not to have Catherine competent. She’s not been able to see family. I would hope that Perkins encourages her and helps her reach out for some support because in 21 months I am not aware of very many visits, and there are no phone calls from me that are allowed to go through to her.”
Judge Wolfe pointed out to the State’s Attorney that Hoggle has been in custody for a longer time than would have been imposed had Hoggle been convicted of the charge of FL.9.304 which is Depriving the lawful custodian of the custody of the child, and the accompanying charge of Neglect of a Child. He asked if the State’s Attorney had any plans to amend those charges. However, the State’s Attorney said State was not ready to make any changes to the charges at this time.
“Even if there were a conviction, there wouldn’t be any more jail time for that because Ms. Hoggle would be credited for time served,” said Felsen. However, the charges related to obstruction of justice and hindering a police investigation carry a higher maximum sentence. “The obstruction and hindering charges carry a maximum sentence which is greater that what she’s been serving.” The maximum sentence for obstruction and hindering a police investigation is life in prison.
Top: Catherine Hoggle’s attorney David Felsen addresses the media after the status hearing in Montgomery County District Court on Tuesday, June 28.
Next: Lindsey Hoggle, Catherine’s mother said it was “just unacceptable that we continue not to have Catherine competent.”
Photos by Germantown Pulse