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SB20-181

Measures On Incompetent To Proceed

Concerning measures to improve outcomes for defendants who may be found incompetent to proceed.
Session:
2020 Regular Session
Subjects:
Courts & Judicial
Crimes, Corrections, & Enforcement
Bill Summary

Under current law, a competency report must include an opinion regarding whether the defendant can be restored to competency. In relation to that report and opinion:

  • If a court within the previous 5 years has found that the defendant will not attain competency within the reasonably foreseeable future and the evaluator provides an opinion that there is a substantial probability of attaining competency within the reasonably foreseeable future, the evaluator shall state why the defendant's circumstances are different from the prior court's finding;
  • When the defendant is diagnosed with a moderate to severe intellectual or developmental disability, acquired or traumatic brain injury, or dementia that affects the defendant's ability to gain or maintain competency and the evaluator's opinion is that there is a substantial probability of attaining competency, the evaluator shall state what circumstances will reasonably change in the defendant's condition to believe the defendant will be restored to competency within the reasonably foreseeable future; and
  • When the defendant has been found incompetent to proceed 3 or more times over the previous 3 years in the current case or any other case and even if the defendant is later restored, the evaluator shall specifically identify those instances of findings of incompetency in the report.

When the defendant's evaluation includes one of the above situations, the court shall hold a hearing, within 35 days of receiving the report, on the issue of whether there is a substantial probability that the defendant will be restored to competency within the reasonably foreseeable future. At the hearing, there is a presumption that the defendant will not attain competency within the reasonably foreseeable future. A party attempting to overcome that presumption must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that there is a substantial probability that restoration efforts will be successful within the reasonably foreseeable future.

Under current law, when a defendant is found incompetent to proceed and charged with certain offenses that are not victims' rights act crimes, the court may dismiss those the charges. The bill removes the victims' rights act crimes limitation.

When the defendant is in custody on a misdemeanor, petty offense, traffic offense, or traffic infraction and is incompetent to proceed, the court, within 7 days of the defendant being found incompetent to proceed, shall set a hearing on bond. At the bond hearing there is a presumption that the court shall order a personal recognizance bond. If the court does not order a personal recognizance bond, the court must make findings of fact that extraordinary circumstances exist to overcome the presumption of a release and the clinical recommendation for outpatient treatment by clear and convincing evidence.

When a defendant is found incompetent to proceed or where civil commitment proceedings are initiated in a municipal case, the municipal court shall dismiss the case.

The state court administrator shall appoint a 6-member committee to review the impacts of enhanced sentencing laws on people with health conditions, including mental health, intellectual or developmental disabilities, traumatic brain injuries, and other neurocognitive health conditions such as Alzheimer's or dementia. The committee shall produce a report outlining budgetary, legislative, regulatory, and practice recommendations no later than November 15, 2020. Recommendations must include ways to help protect the safety and well-being of first responders and shall also include mechanisms to ensure people with health conditions are not unnecessarily involved in the criminal or juvenile justice systems due to unmet health needs.


(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced.)

Status

Introduced
Under Consideration

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Bill Text

Sponsors

Sponsor Type Legislators
Prime Sponsor

Sen. P. Lee
Rep. M. Weissman

Sponsor

Co-sponsor

COVID-19 Resources

Temporary Guidelines for Review and Comment Meetings

The House and Senate are temporarily adjourned. The building is closed to the public.