Bill No.: HB0019 Drafter: JHR


LSO No.: 09LSO-0059 Effective Date: 7/1/2009


Enrolled Act No.: HEA0013


Chapter No.: 31


Prime Sponsor: Select Committee on Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services


Catch Title: Criminal procedure-mental evaluations.


Subject: Clarifies procedures for mental evaluations in criminal cases.


Summary/Major Elements:

         Under current law, a defendant in a criminal case may be subject to two mental evaluations, one to determine if the defendant is competent to stand trial and the other to determine if the defendant may be "not guilty by reason of mental illness or deficiency." These evaluations often occur simultaneously.

         This bill:

         Clarifies that the evaluation to determine whether the defendant is fit to proceed to trial must be completed and the court must have found the defendant fit to proceed to trial before a plea of "not guilty by reason of mental illness or deficiency" can be entered and the second examination ordered.

         Requires that, with respect to the second examination:

         A written report shall be filed with the clerk of court including an opinion, and the basis therefor, whether the defendant, at the time of the alleged criminal conduct, lacked substantial capacity to appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct or to conform his conduct to the requirements of the law as a result of mental illness or deficiency;

         The clerk of court shall deliver copies of the report to the district attorney and the defendant or his counsel;

         The report shall not be a public record, but may be received into evidence;

         Allows, within five days of receiving the report, the district attorney or defendant to obtain, upon written request, a court order granting another examination of the defendant by a designated examiner chosen by the requestor of the examination.