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A30, R53, S426
Sponsors: Senators Sheheen, Hayes, Malloy and Allen
Document Path: l:\s-res\vas\0142men.kmm.vas.docx
Companion/Similar bill(s): 209, 3412
Introduced in the Senate on February 5, 2015
Introduced in the House on April 14, 2015
Last Amended on March 26, 2015
Passed by the General Assembly on May 13, 2015
Governor's Action: June 1, 2015, Signed
Summary: Mental Health Court Program Act
HISTORY OF LEGISLATIVE ACTIONS
Date Body Action Description with journal page number ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 2/5/2015 Senate Introduced and read first time (Senate Journal-page 6) 2/5/2015 Senate Referred to Committee on Judiciary (Senate Journal-page 6) 2/9/2015 Senate Referred to Subcommittee: Massey (ch), Bennett, McElveen 3/18/2015 Senate Committee report: Favorable with amendment Judiciary (Senate Journal-page 12) 3/19/2015 Scrivener's error corrected 3/26/2015 Senate Committee Amendment Adopted (Senate Journal-page 26) 3/26/2015 Senate Read second time (Senate Journal-page 26) 3/26/2015 Senate Roll call Ayes-41 Nays-0 (Senate Journal-page 26) 3/27/2015 Scrivener's error corrected 3/31/2015 Senate Read third time and sent to House (Senate Journal-page 16) 4/14/2015 House Introduced and read first time (House Journal-page 32) 4/14/2015 House Referred to Committee on Judiciary (House Journal-page 32) 5/6/2015 House Committee report: Favorable Judiciary (House Journal-page 36) 5/12/2015 House Read second time (House Journal-page 11) 5/12/2015 House Roll call Yeas-98 Nays-2 (House Journal-page 11) 5/13/2015 House Read third time and enrolled (House Journal-page 10) 5/28/2015 Ratified R 53 6/1/2015 Signed By Governor 6/4/2015 Effective date 06/01/15 6/5/2015 Act No. 30
View the latest legislative information at the website
VERSIONS OF THIS BILL
(A30, R53, S426)
AN ACT TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, SO AS TO ENACT THE "MENTAL HEALTH COURT PROGRAM ACT"; BY ADDING CHAPTER 31 TO TITLE 14 SO AS TO ESTABLISH A MENTAL HEALTH COURT PROGRAM, TO PROVIDE FOR A SYSTEM THAT DIVERTS MENTALLY ILL OFFENDERS TO APPROPRIATE TREATMENT PROGRAMS RATHER THAN INCARCERATION, TO DEFINE NECESSARY TERMS, TO PROVIDE FOR ELIGIBILITY TO PARTICIPATE IN MENTAL HEALTH COURT, TO PROVIDE THAT EXISTING MENTAL HEALTH COURTS ESTABLISHED PURSUANT TO AN ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER OF THE SUPREME COURT SHALL CONTINUE IN EXISTENCE, TO PROVIDE THAT EACH SOLICITOR MAY ESTABLISH A PROGRAM, TO PROVIDE FOR QUALIFICATIONS FOR SERVICE AS A MENTAL HEALTH COURT JUDGE, TO PROVIDE THAT MENTAL HEALTH COURT JUDGES HAVE THE SAME PROTECTIONS FROM CIVIL LIABILITY AND IMMUNITY AS OTHER JUDICIAL OFFICERS IN THIS STATE, AND TO PROVIDE THAT SOLICITORS WHO ACCEPT STATE FUNDING FOR THE PROGRAM MUST ESTABLISH THE PROGRAM WITHIN ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY DAYS OF THE RECEIPT OF FUNDING.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
Mental Health Court Program Act established
SECTION 1. Title 14 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
Section 14-31-10. This chapter may be cited as the 'Mental Health Court Program Act'.
Section 14-31-20. The purpose of this chapter is to divert qualifying mentally ill offenders away from the criminal justice system and into appropriate treatment programs, thereby reserving prison space for violent criminals and others for whom incarceration is the only reasonable alternative. Offenders with a diagnosed, or diagnosable mental illness generally recognized in the psychiatric community, qualify for participation in a mental health court program.
Section 14-31-30. The following definitions shall apply to this chapter:
(1) 'Pre-adjudicatory mental health court program' means a program that allows an offender to expedite the offender's criminal case before conviction and requires successful completion of the mental health court program as part of the agreement.
(2) 'Post-adjudicatory mental health court program' means a program in which an offender has admitted guilt or has been found guilty and agrees to enter a mental health court program as part of the offender's sentence.
(3) 'Combination mental health court program' means a mental health court program that includes a pre-adjudicatory mental health court program and a post-adjudicatory mental health court program.
Section 14-31-40. (A)(1)(a) Except as provided in item (2), each circuit solicitor may establish a mental health court program under one of the formats defined in Section 14-31-30. An offender arrested or convicted for any charges, except those excluded under the provisions of Section 16-1-130, who are suffering from a diagnosed, or diagnosable mental illness, including those with a co-concurring disorder of substance abuse, may be eligible for referral to a mental health court program. In cases involving victims, proper notice shall be given to victims pursuant to Section 16-3-1525. Proper notice to a victim is not achieved unless reasonable attempts are made to contact the victim and the victim is either nonresponsive or cannot be located after a reasonable search.
(b) Each circuit solicitor that accepts state funding for the implementation of a mental health treatment court program must establish and administer at least one mental health court program for the circuit within one hundred eighty days of receipt of funding. The circuit solicitor must administer the program and ensure that all eligible persons are permitted to apply for admission to the program.
(2) Mental health court programs established pursuant to an administrative order issued by the Chief Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court shall continue to operate pursuant to the terms and conditions of the court's orders pertaining to that mental health court program. To the extent that provisions contained in this chapter conflict with provisions contained in those Supreme Court administrative orders, the provisions of the administrative orders shall control.
(B) The Chief Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court shall appoint all mental health court judges for mental health courts operating pursuant to subsection (A)(1) and (2). Service as a mental health court judge shall be at the pleasure of the Chief Justice and shall be subject to any limitations and directives issued by the Chief Justice. In order to be appointed as a mental health court judge, a person must be a probate judge, a summary court judge, or an active or retired member of the state's unified judicial system. Service as a mental health court judge is voluntary.
(C) Mental health court judges are entitled to the same protections from civil liability and immunities as judicial office holders in this State."
SECTION 2. The repeal or amendment by this act of any law, whether temporary or permanent or civil or criminal, does not affect pending actions, rights, duties, or liabilities founded thereon, or alter, discharge, release or extinguish any penalty, forfeiture, or liability incurred under the repealed or amended law, unless the repealed or amended provision shall so expressly provide. After the effective date of this act, all laws repealed or amended by this act must be taken and treated as remaining in full force and effect for the purpose of sustaining any pending or vested right, civil action, special proceeding, criminal prosecution, or appeal existing as of the effective date of this act, and for the enforcement of rights, duties, penalties, forfeitures, and liabilities as they stood under the repealed or amended laws.
SECTION 3. If any section, subsection, paragraph, subparagraph, sentence, clause, phrase, or word of this act is for any reason held to be unconstitutional or invalid, such holding shall not affect the constitutionality or validity of the remaining portions of this act, the General Assembly hereby declaring that it would have passed this act, and each and every section, subsection, paragraph, subparagraph, sentence, clause, phrase, and word thereof, irrespective of the fact that any one or more other sections, subsections, paragraphs, subparagraphs, sentences, clauses, phrases, or words hereof may be declared to be unconstitutional, invalid, or otherwise ineffective.
SECTION 4. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.
Ratified the 28th day of May, 2015.
Approved the 1st day of June, 2015.
This web page was last updated on July 20, 2015 at 4:02 PM