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SB 1315 Criminal proceedings; consideration of mental condition and intellectual, etc.

Introduced by: Jennifer L. McClellan | all patrons    ...    notes | add to my profiles


Criminal proceedings; consideration of mental condition and intellectual and developmental disabilities. Permits the admission of evidence by the defendant concerning a defendant's mental condition at the time of an alleged offense, including expert testimony, if such evidence is relevant and is not evidence concerning an ultimate issue of fact and (i) tends to show the defendant did or did not have the intent required for the offense charged and (ii) is otherwise admissible pursuant to the general rules of evidence. The bill provides that to establish a mental condition for such purposes, the defendant must show that his condition existed at the time of the offense and that such condition satisfies the diagnostic criteria for (a) a mental illness, as defined in the bill; (b) an intellectual or developmental disability, as defined in the bill; or (c) an autism spectrum disorder, as defined in the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders published by the American Psychiatric Association. If a defendant intends to present such evidence, the bill requires him or his counsel to give notice in writing to the attorney for the Commonwealth within specified time periods. The bill also clarifies that a court, in addition to a magistrate, may enter an emergency custody order in such cases if the criteria required under current law for emergency custody orders are met.

The bill clarifies that a diagnosis of an intellectual or developmental disability shall be considered by a judicial officer for the purpose of rebuttal of a presumption against bail and that a court may order that a sentencing report prepared by a probation officer contain any diagnosis of an intellectual or developmental disability. The bill also adds to the requirements to be met for qualification as a court-appointed attorney two hours of continuing legal education, which shall cover the representation of individuals with behavioral or mental health disorders and individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities.

Finally, the bill requires the Office of the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court to collect data regarding the cases that use the evidence made permissible in the bill and the Joint Subcommittee to Study Mental Health Services in the Commonwealth in the 21st Century to study and make recommendations about the standard of danger to self or others that may be appropriately applied for such persons found not guilty under the provisions of the bill in the issuance of emergency custody orders, involuntary temporary detention orders, or the ordering of other mandatory mental health treatments. This bill incorporates SB 1383 and is identical to HB 2047.