A BILL TO BE ENTITLED AN ACT TO AMEND THE LAWS GOVERNING INCAPACITY TO PROCEED.
Amends GS 15A-1002 (determination of incapacity to proceed; temporary commitment; orders) to clarify that the court may appoint a medical expert or evaluator to examine a defendant charged with a misdemeanor or felony and return a report on the defendant's mental health. Allows the court to call the appointed expert to testify at the hearing, with or without the request of either party. Clarifies that a judge must find that an examination is more appropriate to determine capacity when a defendant is ordered to a state facility without an examination (current law makes this provision applicable only to felony charges). Permits the court to order the defendant to a state facility to determine the defendant's capacity at any time in the case of a defendant charged with a felony (current provision also applies to defendants charged with misdemeanors who have been examined). Requires a judge ordering an examination to order the release of confidential information to the examiner, after providing reasonable notice and an opportunity to be heard to the defendant. Requires the court order to include findings of fact to support the determination of the defendant's capacity to proceed. Allows stipulation by the parties to capacity to proceed only. Sets out requirements and timelines to provide examination reports to the court.
Amends GS 15A-1004(c) to add that the court must order that the defendant be examined to determine whether the defendant has the capacity to proceed before being released from custody. Amends GS 15A-1007 (supplemental hearings) to clarify applicable timelines after a defendant gains capacity to proceed. Makes conforming and clarifying changes to GS 15A-1006. Amends GS 15A-1008 (dismissal) to require (rather than permit) the court to dismiss charges at the earliest of three specified occurrences when the defendant lacks capacity to proceed. Adds provisions related to the circumstances of dismissal, including the allowance to refile charges. Makes a conforming change to repeal GS 15A-1009 (dismissal with leave when defendant incapable of proceeding). Makes additional clarifying changes. Amends GS 122C-54(b) to require examination reports submitted by a facility to include any treatment recommendation and an opinion on the likelihood that the defendant will gain the capacity to proceed. Enacts new GS 122C-278 (reexamination for capacity to proceed prior to discharge) to provide that a respondent who is involuntarily committed to either inpatient or outpatient treatment under GS Chapter 122C cannot be discharged from custody or the outpatient case terminated until the person has been examined for capacity to proceed and a report has been filed with the clerk of court in compliance with GS 15A-1002.
Makes the statutory amendments effective December 1, 2013.
Directs the Commission for Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services (Commission) to adopt rules by December 1, 2013, to require appointed forensic evaluators to meet specified standards. Directs the Commission to adopt guidelines, by December 1, 2013, for the treatment of involuntarily committed persons following a determination of incapacity to proceed.
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