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A400, R455, H4735
Sponsors: Reps. Harrison and Jennings
Document Path: l:\council\bills\nbd\12174ac06.doc
Introduced in the House on February 28, 2006
Introduced in the Senate on April 11, 2006
Last Amended on June 14, 2006
Passed by the General Assembly on June 14, 2006
Governor's Action: September 29, 2006, Signed
Summary: Fitness of person to stand trial
HISTORY OF LEGISLATIVE ACTIONS
Date Body Action Description with journal page number ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 2/28/2006 House Introduced and read first time HJ-26 2/28/2006 House Referred to Committee on Judiciary HJ-27 4/5/2006 House Committee report: Favorable with amendment Judiciary HJ-2 4/6/2006 House Amended HJ-22 4/6/2006 House Read second time HJ-24 4/6/2006 House Unanimous consent for third reading on next legislative day HJ-24 4/6/2006 Scrivener's error corrected 4/7/2006 House Read third time and sent to Senate 4/11/2006 Senate Introduced and read first time SJ-13 4/11/2006 Senate Referred to Committee on Judiciary SJ-13 4/11/2006 Senate Referred to Subcommittee: Hutto (ch), Jackson, Knotts, Bryant 5/24/2006 Senate Polled out of committee Judiciary SJ-20 5/24/2006 Senate Committee report: Favorable with amendment Judiciary SJ-20 5/25/2006 Scrivener's error corrected 5/25/2006 Senate Amended SJ-34 5/25/2006 Senate Read second time SJ-34 5/26/2006 Scrivener's error corrected 5/31/2006 Senate Read third time and returned to House with amendments SJ-120 6/1/2006 House Senate amendment amended HJ-46 6/1/2006 House Returned to Senate with amendments HJ-46 6/1/2006 Senate Non-concurrence in House amendment SJ-16 6/1/2006 House House insists upon amendment and conference committee appointed Reps. GM Smith, Delleney, and FN Smith HJ-208 6/1/2006 Senate Conference committee appointed Hutto, Sheheen, and Bryant SJ-18 6/14/2006 House Conference report received and adopted HJ-113 6/14/2006 Senate Conference report adopted SJ-143 6/14/2006 Senate Ordered enrolled for ratification SJ-148 6/14/2006 Ratified R 455 9/29/2006 Signed By Governor 10/4/2006 Copies available 10/4/2006 Effective date 09/29/06 10/9/2006 Act No. 400
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VERSIONS OF THIS BILL
(A400, R455, H4735)
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 44-23-410, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO EVALUATIONS FOR DETERMINING THE FITNESS OF A PERSON CHARGED WITH A CRIME TO STAND TRIAL, SO AS TO INCREASE FROM FIFTEEN DAYS TO THIRTY DAYS THE TIME WITHIN WHICH THE EVALUATION OF THE PERSON MUST BE COMPLETED AND TO AUTHORIZE THE EXAMINING ENTITY TO APPLY TO THE COURT FOR AN EXTENSION OF UP TO FIFTEEN DAYS; TO AMEND SECTION 44-23-420, RELATING TO THE FITNESS TO STAND TRIAL REPORT OF A DESIGNATED EXAMINER, SO AS TO INCREASE FROM FIVE TO TEN DAYS THE TIME WITHIN WHICH THE EXAMINER MUST SUBMIT THE REPORT; AND TO AMEND SECTION 44-23-430, RELATING TO COMPETENCY HEARINGS AND DISPOSITION OF CASES IN SUCH HEARINGS, SO AS TO DECREASE FROM SIXTY DAYS TO FOURTEEN DAYS THE TIME WITHIN WHICH THE SOLICITOR MUST INITIATE JUDICIAL COMMITMENT PROCEEDINGS FOR A PERSON FOUND TO BE UNFIT TO STAND TRIAL AND TO AUTHORIZE THE COURT TO CONTINUE THE PERSON IN DETENTION IF THE PERSON IS ALREADY DETAINED OR TO REMAIN ON BOND IF ALREADY ON BOND.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
Examinations for fitness to stand trial
SECTION 1. Section 44-23-410 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
"Section 44-23-410. (A) Whenever a judge of the circuit court or family court has reason to believe that a person on trial before him, charged with the commission of a criminal offense or civil contempt, is not fit to stand trial because the person lacks the capacity to understand the proceedings against him or to assist in his own defense as a result of a lack of mental capacity, the judge shall:
(1) order examination of the person by two examiners designated by the Department of Mental Health if the person is suspected of having a mental illness or designated by the Department of Disabilities and Special Needs if the person is suspected of being mentally retarded or having a related disability or by both sets of examiners if the person is suspected of having both mental illness and mental retardation or a related disability. The examination must be made within thirty days after the receipt of the court's order and may be conducted in any suitable place unless otherwise designated by the court; or
(2) order the person committed for examination and observation to an appropriate facility of the Department of Mental Health or the Department of Disabilities and Special Needs for a period not to exceed fifteen days.
(B) Before the expiration of the examination period or the examination and observation period, the Department of Mental Health or the Department of Disabilities and Special Needs, as appropriate, may apply to a judge designated by the Chief Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court for an extension of time up to fifteen days to complete the examination or the examination and observation.
(C) If the person or the person's counsel requests, the court may authorize the person to be examined additionally by a designated examiner of the person's choice. However, the court may prescribe the time and conditions under which the independent examination is conducted.
(D) If the examiners designated by the Department of Mental Health find indications of mental retardation or a related disability but not mental illness, the department shall not render an evaluation on the person's mental capacity, but shall inform the court that the person is 'not mentally ill' and recommend that the person should be evaluated for competency to stand trial by the Department of Disabilities and Special Needs. If the examiners designated by the Department of Disabilities and Special Needs find indications of mental illness but not mental retardation or a related disability, the department shall not render an evaluation on the person's mental capacity, but shall inform the court that the person does 'not have mental retardation or a related disability' and recommend that the person should be evaluated for competency to stand trial by the Department of Mental Health. If either the Department of Mental Health or the Department of Disabilities and Special Needs finds a preliminary indication of a dual diagnosis of mental illness and mental retardation or a related disability, this preliminary finding must be reported to the court with the recommendation that one examiner from the Department of Mental Health and one examiner from the Department of Disabilities and Special Needs be designated to further evaluate the person and render a final report on the person's mental capacity."
Fitness to stand trial reports
SECTION 2. Section 44-23-420 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
"Section 44-23-420. (A) Within ten days of examination under Section 44-23-410(A)(1) or at the conclusion of the observation period under Section 44-23-410(A)(2), the designated examiners shall make a written report to the court which shall include:
(1) a diagnosis of the person's mental condition; and
(2) clinical findings bearing on the issues of whether or not the person is capable of understanding the proceedings against him and assisting in his own defense, and if there is a substantial probability that he will attain that capacity in the foreseeable future.
(B) The report of the designated examiners shall not contain any findings nor shall the examiners testify on the question of insanity should it be raised as a defense unless further examination on the question of insanity is ordered by the court.
(C) The report is admissible as evidence in subsequent hearings pursuant to Section 44-23-430."
Hearings on fitness to stand trial and disposition of matters in such hearings
SECTION 3. Section 44-23-430 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
"Section 44-23-430. Upon receiving the report of the designated examiners the court shall set a date for and notify the person and his counsel of a hearing on the issue of his fitness to stand trial. If, in the judgment of the designated examiners or the superintendent of the facility if the person has been detained, the person is in need of hospitalization, the court with criminal jurisdiction over the person may authorize his detention in a suitable facility until the hearing. The person shall be entitled to be present at the hearings and to be represented by counsel. If upon completion of the hearing and consideration of the evidence the court finds that:
(1) the person is fit to stand trial, it shall order the criminal proceedings resumed; or
(2) the person is unfit to stand trial for the reasons set forth in Section 44-23-410 and is unlikely to become fit to stand trial in the foreseeable future, the solicitor responsible for the criminal prosecution shall initiate judicial admission proceedings pursuant to Sections 44-17-510 through 44-17-610 or Section 44-20-450 within fourteen days, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, during which time the court may order the person hospitalized, may order the person to continue in detention if detained, or, if on bond, may permit the person to remain on bond; or
(3) the person is unfit to stand trial but likely to become fit in the foreseeable future, the court shall order him hospitalized up to an additional sixty days. If the person is found to be unfit at the conclusion of the additional period of treatment the solicitor responsible for the criminal prosecution shall initiate judicial admission proceedings pursuant to Sections 44-17-510 through 44-17-610 or Section 44-20-450 within fourteen days, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, during which time the person shall remain hospitalized.
Subject to the provisions of Section 44-23-460, persons against whom criminal charges are pending shall have all the rights and privileges of other involuntarily hospitalized persons.
Persons against whom criminal charges are pending but who are not involuntarily committed following judicial admission proceedings shall be released."
SECTION 4. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.
Ratified the 14th day of June, 2006.
Approved the 29th day of September, 2006.
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