CAPITAL PROCEDURE/SEVERE DISABILITY.

View NCGA Bill Details2013-2014 Session
House Bill 722 (Public) Filed Wednesday, April 10, 2013
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED AN ACT TO AMEND THE CAPITAL TRIAL, SENTENCING, AND POSTCONVICTION PROCEDURES FOR A PERSON WITH A SEVERE MENTAL DISABILITY AND TO PROVIDE THAT INSANITY IS NOT AVAILABLE AS A DEFENSE TO A CRIMINAL ACTION IF PRIOR ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE OR BOTH ARE THE SOLE CAUSE OF THE PSYCHOSIS OR IF VOLUNTARY INTOXICATION, A VOLUNTARY DRUGGED CONDITION, OR BOTH COMBINED ARE THE SOLE SUPPORT FOR THE DEFENSE.
Intro. by Stam.

Status: Re-ref Com On Rules, Calendar, and Operations of the House (House Action) (May 9 2013)
H 722

Bill Summaries:

  • Summary date: Apr 11 2013 - More information

    Effective October 1, 2013, adds new GS 15A-2007 to prohibit a defendant determined to have a severe mental disability at the time of the commission of a criminal offense from being sentenced to death. Defines severe mental disability to mean any mental disability or defect that significantly impairs a person's capacity to do any of the following in relation to the criminal offense: (1) appreciate the nature, consequences, or wrongfulness of the person's conduct; (2) exercise rational judgment in relation to the offense; or (3) conform the person's conduct to the requirement of the law in connection with the offense. Places the burden on the defendant to show that the mental disability was manifested at some time prior to the defendant's alleged offense. Specifies that a mental disability manifested primarily by repeated criminal conduct or attributable solely to the acute effects of alcohol or other drugs does not, standing alone, constitute a severe mental disability.

    Requires court to hold a pretrial hearing, upon motion of the defendant, to determine if the defendant had a severe mental disability at the time of the commission of the offense. Imposes burden of production and persuasion on defendant to demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence.

    Requiresanyone found to be under the influence of a severe mental disability at the time of the commission of the criminal offense to waive a defense of not guilty by reason of insanity; however, a pretrial determination that the defendant has a severe mental disability does not preclude the defendant from raising any other legal defense during trial.

    Specifies that if court does not find that defendant had a severe mental disability at the time of the commission of the criminal offense during the pre-trial hearing, the defendant may introduce evidence of the disability during the sentencing hearing. Requires court to submit a special issue to the jury as to whether the defendant had a severe mental disability at the time of the commission of the criminal offense prior to the consideration of aggravating or mitigating factors and the determination of a sentence. If the jury determines that the defendant had a severe mental disability at the time of the commission of the criminal offense, the court must declare the case non-capital and the defendant must be sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. Imposes burden of production and persuasion on defendant by a preponderance of the evidence. Authorizes the jury to consider any evidence presented by the defendant of a severe mental disability when determining mitigating factors and the defendant's sentence, even if the jury determines that the defendant did not have a severe mental disability.

    Specifies that defendant determined to have a severe mental disability at the time of the commission of the criminal offense may be subject to any other sentence authorized by GS 14-17 for the crime of murder in the first degree.

    Effective October 1, 2013, makes conforming changes to GS 15A-2000(b).

    Effective October 1, 2013, and expiring as ofOctober 1, 2014, enacts new GS 15A-2008 to allow a defendant who has been convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to death to request a post conviction determination of severe mental disability. Specifies time period for filing motion and requires that the procedures and hearing on the motion comply with GS 15A-1420.

    Effective October 1, 2013, enacts new GS 15A-960 to prohibit an insanity defense if: (1) prior alcohol use, prior drug use, or both are the sole cause of the psychosis or (2) voluntary intoxication, a voluntary drugged condition, or both combined are the sole support for the defense.


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