Bill Summary for H 186 (2023-2024)

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Summary date: 

Aug 16 2023

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2023-2024 Session
House Bill 186 (Public) Filed Wednesday, February 22, 2023
Intro. by Davis, Pyrtle, Carson Smith, A. Jones.

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Bill summary

Conference report to the 6th edition makes the following changes.

Part IV.

Amends GS 7B-1806 to allow a law enforcement officer or juvenile court counselor (was, juvenile court counselor or any other person authorized by law) to serve and complete juvenile process.

Makes organizational changes to the act’s effective date provision.

Adds the following new content.

Part V.

Amends GS 7B-2401, pertaining to determinations of incapacity in juvenile proceedings, as follows. Deletes provisions specifying that GS 15A-1001, 15A-1002, and 15A-1003 apply to all cases in which a juvenile is alleged to be delinquent and which barred a juvenile committed under the statute from being placed in a situation where they will come into contact with adults committed for any purpose. Replaces GS 7B-2401 with the following. Prohibits any juvenile from being transferred to superior court for trial as an adult, adjudicated delinquent or undisciplined, or subject to disposition for an offense in juvenile court, including a violation of probation, when, by reason of mental disorder, intellectual disability, neurological  disorder, traumatic or acquired brain injury, or developmental immaturity, the juvenile is unable to understand the nature and object of the proceedings against them, to comprehend their own situation in reference to the proceedings, or to assist in their own defense in a rational or  reasonable manner. Allows the court to go forward with any motions which can be handled by counsel without the assistance of the juvenile. Specifies that GS 7B-2401 does not apply to individuals over whom the juvenile court has jurisdiction pursuant to GS 7B-1601(d) through (d1) nor to any juvenile who is subject to transfer by indictment pursuant to GS 7B-2200 and GS 7B-2200.5(a)(1). Specifies that capacity to proceed under these circumstances will not be addressed by the juvenile court, and instead can be raised pursuant to Article 56 of GS Chapter 15A if the superior court obtains jurisdiction of the proceeding.

Defines developmental immaturity, division, forensic evaluation, forensic evaluation report, incapacity to proceed, and remediation. Enacts new GS 7B-2401.2, setting forth procedures to determine capacity of juveniles. Allows for the question of capacity to be raised at any time by the juvenile, the court, the prosecutor or the juvenile’s attorney, with a requirement that the motion describe the specific conduct that leads the moving party to question the juvenile’s capacity to proceed. Requires a hearing on the question of capacity, with notice to be provided to the juvenile and prosecutor. Require that the court inquire into capacity if the offender is less than 12 years of age. Permits the court to appoint one or more forensic evaluators qualified by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to examine the juvenile and return a forensic evaluation report, which is admissible at the competency hearing. Allows for the court to call experts on its own initiative, which does not impede the rights of any party to retain and call their own expert witness.

Permits, at any time in the case of a juvenile that allegedly committed an offense that would be a felony if committed by an adult, for the court to order the juvenile to a State facility for the mentally ill for observation and treatment for the period, not to exceed 60 days, necessary to determine the defendant's capacity to proceed. If a juvenile is ordered to a State facility without first having an examination pursuant to GS 7B-2401.2, requires the judge to make a finding that an examination would be more appropriate to determine the juvenile's capacity. Requires the Division of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention of the Department of Public Safety (Division) to return the juvenile to the county when notified that the evaluation has been completed. Requires the director of the facility to direct the report to the juvenile’s attorney and clerk of superior court, who must bring it to the attention of the court. Specifies that the report is admissible at the hearing. Specifies that any court ordered forensic evaluation must be conducted in the least restrictive environment, considering the best interests of the juvenile and the safety of the public. Provides for transportation to that location by the Division.

Sets deadline of completion of forensic report at 30 days after the report was ordered, unless extended for good cause and specifies deadlines for submission of the report to the court based on the offense charged or whether the juvenile has challenged the determination of the court-ordered evaluator. Prohibits the court from granting extensions totaling more than 120 days beyond these time periods. Specifies persons who should receive the report and how delivery should be made, with specifications that the report is confidential and should be treated as such. Specifies that an order for forensic evaluation stays the proceedings, except for custody determinations and transfer of jurisdiction. Sets forth requirements for evidentiary hearing, including requirement that the court issue findings of fact and conclusions of law. Prohibits subjecting a juvenile found incapable to proceed to transfer, adjudication, disposition, or modification of disposition so long as the incapacity exists.        

Enacts GS 7B-2401.3, providing for a credentialing body designed and supervised by DHHS to set and maintain the minimum standards to qualify professionals who are court-appointed to conduct forensic evaluations as ordered pursuant to GS 7B-2401.2. Specifies that this does not infringe on a juvenile’s right to retain their own expert. Specifies that qualified professionals who have been conducting forensic evaluations of juveniles prior to enactment of GS 7B-2401.3 will be deemed to possess the minimum requirements to become an evaluator, but will be required to satisfy DHHS’s qualification standards within 12 months of the adoption of those standards. Provides for process of disclosure of confidential records to forensic evaluator when an evaluation is ordered by the court as described above. Specifies that no statement or disclosure made by the juvenile during the forensic evaluation regarding their responsibility for a criminal act that can result either in an adjudication of delinquency or transfer of a matter to superior court for trial as an adult is admissible in any juvenile or criminal proceeding against the juvenile or defendant. Specifies that the forensic evaluation cannot include any such statement. Sets forth three elements that the forensic evaluator is required to consider as part of the forensic evaluation, including the capacity of the juvenile to proceed and identification of the basis for any incapacity. Requires the report to cover seven listed matters, with four additional prongs of information if the juvenile is incapable to proceed, including recommended treatment or education for the juvenile to attain capacity (if any), the likelihood that the juvenile will attain capacity in the foreseeable future, an assessment of the probable duration of the treatment or education required to attain capacity, and if treatment is recommended, the least restrictive environment for that treatment.  Provides for reasonable fee to forensic evaluator for evaluation.

Enacts GS 7B-2401.4, concerning remediation ordered for the juvenile to attain capacity to proceed upon a required finding by the court that the juvenile is incapable to proceed, and substantially likely to attain capacity in the foreseeable future. The remediation services must be based on the recommendations from the forensic evaluation and in the least restrictive environment considering the best interests of the juvenile and the safety of the public. Provides for eight additional considerations that the court must weigh when determining where services may be rendered. Sets forth time limitations on remediation services based on gravity of the offense. Provides for contents of remediation order. If the court finds less restrictive alternatives are inappropriate, then the court may enter an order for the juvenile to be assessed for involuntary commitment.

Designates the Division as responsible for providing psychoeducation remediation programming and working with community partners to secure any additional services recommended in the forensic evaluation report. The Division is authorized to contract with UNC-Chapel Hill or any other qualified educational organization to develop and conduct related trainings and curriculum. Requires the remediation service provider to provide reports to the court at least every 90 days with required information. Specifies that these reports cannot contain any inculpatory statement described above. Requires a review hearing on the report within 30 days of receipt with notice. Allows for the juvenile, and their parent, guardian, or custodian to present evidence and advise the court on the remediation services. Specifies that a remediation order can only be amended or supplemented after notice and the hearing. Allows for reassessment of capacity and new forensic evaluations by someone who is not the remediation specialist for the juvenile. Provides for notice to the court by the remediation specialist when the specialist determines that the juvenile has likely completed the requirements of the remediation services. Permits release of the report to the prosecutor after providing notice to the juvenile and a reasonable opportunity to be heard and then determining that the information is relevant and necessary to the hearing of the matter before the court and unavailable from any other source. Provides for confidentiality of records.

Enacts new GS 7B-2401.5, concerning involuntary commitment of a juvenile, as follows. Specifies that when the court finds that a juvenile is incapable to proceed and not likely to attain capacity in the foreseeable future, permits the court to conduct an additional hearing, as the court determines to be necessary, to determine whether there are reasonable grounds to believe the juvenile meets the criteria for involuntary commitment. If the presiding judge finds reasonable grounds to believe that the juvenile meets the criteria, requires the judge to make findings of fact and issue a custody order in the same manner upon the same grounds and with the same effect as an order issued by a clerk or magistrate pursuant to GS.122C-261. Specifies that proceedings thereafter are in accordance with Part 7 of Article 5 of GS Chapter 122C. Requires that if the juvenile allegedly committed a violent crime, including a crime involving assault with a deadly weapon, the judge's custody order must require a law enforcement officer to take the juvenile directly to a 24-hour facility as described in GS 122C-252. Requires that the order must also indicate that the juvenile was charged with a violent crime and that the juvenile was found incapable of proceeding. Specifies that evidence used at the hearing regarding capacity to proceed is admissible in involuntary civil commitment proceedings. When the court finds that a juvenile is incapable to proceed and not likely to attain capacity in the foreseeable future, requires the court to dismiss the petition. Permits the prosecutor to voluntarily dismiss with leave any allegations stated in the petition, prior to the termination of the jurisdiction of the court. After the completion of all capacity hearings or after a juvenile has been found not to be substantially likely to be restored to or to attain capacity in the foreseeable future, the court must direct the clerk to seal all forensic evaluations, remediation reports, and any other records pertaining to the capacity of the juvenile. Specifies that records sealed pursuant to GS 7B-2401.5 may be opened or inspected only by order of the court or for appellate review.

Amends GS 7B-1906, pertaining to secure or nonsecure custody hearings, to specify that when the capacity of the juvenile to proceed is questioned, further hearings to determine the need for secure custody must be held at intervals of no more than 30 calendar days from the date of the motion. Further hearings may be waived only with the consent of the juvenile through counsel for the juvenile. Upon request of the juvenile, through counsel for the juvenile, and for good cause as determined by the court, further hearings to determine the need for secure custody may be held at intervals of 10 days.

Specifies that prosecutions for offenses committed before the effective date of the act are not abated or affected by the act, and the statutes that would be applicable but for this act remain applicable to those prosecutions.

Effective January 1, 2025.

Part VI.

Amends GS 7B-1904 to require a custody order direct a law enforcement officer or juvenile court counselor (was, or other authorized person) to assume custody of the juvenile and to make dure return on the order. Adds that an order for secure custody may be issued following the filing of the petition and before the juvenile has been served with the petition. Requires a copy of the order to be given to the juvenile in addition to the already listed individuals. Adds that if the juvenile has not been served with the petition upon being detained, then juvenile must be served with the petition no more than 72 hours after the juvenile has been detained.

Enacts new GS 7B-1904.5 as follows. Moves the provision that allowed an officer that receives an order for custody that is complete and regular on its face to execute it without inquiring into its regularity or continued validity and that protected the officer from criminal or civil liability from GS 7B-1904 into this statute. Allows a law enforcement officer to enter a private premises or a vehicle to take a juvenile into custody when three conditions are met. Allows the use of force to enter the premises or vehicle if the officer believes that admittance is being denied or unreasonably delayed or if the law enforcement officer is authorized to enter without giving notice.

Applies to offenses committed on or after December 1, 2023.

Part VII.

Authorizes the Department of Insurance to fund up to $18 million, with receipts or from other non-General Fund and non-State Capital and Infrastructure Fund sources available to the Department, to enter into a lease agreement for the temporary relocation of offices and up to $1 million for associated costs. Requires that the lease agreement not exceed five years and prohibits renewing the lease without prior approval from the NCGA. Requires the relocation process to be completed by October 15, 2023. Prohibits the Office of State Fire Marshal from relocating.

Part VIII.

Amends GS 20-141.3(g), as amended by SL 2023-97, by limiting when an officer may seize the vehicle to when the person is violating the prohibition on operating a motor vehicle on a street or highway willfully in prearranged speed competition with another motor vehicle, or in violation of GS 20-141.10; makes conforming and clarifying changes. Applies to offenses committed on or after December 1, 2023.

Amends the act’s titles.