A Look at Competency to Stand Trial and Possible Resulting Civil Commitment

In today’s blog we take a look at the statutes governing a person not competent to stand trial and the process one must go through both if the regain competency or if they don’t.  Lastly, we look at the leading case in this area and what happens when a person is charged with a crime but cannot ever regain competency.
 
Comprehension to Stand Trial:
35-36-3-3 Substantial probability of attainment of comprehension to stand trial; certification; commitment proceedings; duration of retention
(a) Within ninety (90) days after:
(1) a defendant’s admission to a state institution (as defined in IC 12-7-2-184); or
(2) the initiation of competency restoration services to a defendant by a third party contractor;
the superintendent of the state institution (as defined in IC 12-7-2-184) or the director or medical director of the third party contractor, if the division of mental health and addiction has entered into a contract for the provision of competency restoration services by a third party, shall certify to the proper court whether the defendant has a substantial probability of attaining the ability to understand the proceedings and assist in the preparation of the defendant’s defense within the foreseeable future.
(b) If a substantial probability does not exist, the state institution (as defined in IC 12-7-2-184) or the third party contractor shall initiate regular commitment proceedings under IC 12-26. If a substantial probability does exist, the state institution (as defined in IC 12-7-2-184) or third party contractor shall retain the defendant:
(1) until the defendant attains the ability to understand the proceedings and assist in the preparation of the defendant’s defense and is returned to the proper court for trial; or
(2) for six (6) months from the date of the:
(A) defendant’s admission to a state institution (as defined in IC 12-7-2-184); or
(B) initiation of competency restoration services by a third party contractor;
whichever first occurs.
 
35-36-3-4 Inability to attain comprehension to stand trial; commitment proceedings
If a defendant who was found under section 3 of this chapter to have had a substantial probability of attaining the ability to understand the proceedings and assist in the preparation of the defendant’s defense has not attained that ability within six (6) months after the date of the:
(1) defendant’s admission to a state institution (as defined in IC 12-7-2-184); or
(2) initiation of competency restoration services by a third party contractor;
the state institution (as defined in IC 12-7-2-184) or the third party contractor, if the division of mental health and addiction has entered into a contract for the provision of competency restoration services by a third party, shall institute regular commitment proceedings under IC 12-26.
 
Jurisdiction and Procedure:
12-26-1-1 Statutes under which mentally ill and either dangerous or gravely disabled may be involuntarily detained or committed
An individual who is mentally ill and either dangerous or gravely disabled may be involuntarily detained or committed under any of the following statutes:
(1) IC 12-26-4 (immediate detention).
(2) IC 12-26-5 (emergency detention).
(3) IC 12-26-6 (temporary commitment).
(4) IC 12-26-7 (regular commitment).
 
12-26-1-2 Courts having jurisdiction of proceedings under article; exceptions
Except as provided in sections 3 and 4 of this chapter, the following Indiana courts have jurisdiction over a proceeding under this article:
(1) A court having probate jurisdiction.
(2) A superior court in a county in which the circuit court has exclusive probate jurisdiction.
(3) A mental health division of a superior court to the extent the mental health division has jurisdiction under IC 33-33-49.
 
12-26-1-3 Hearing required to be held by IC 35-36-2-4
A court that conducted the trial has jurisdiction over a hearing required to be held by IC 35-36-2-4. The court retains jurisdiction over the individual held under IC 35-36-2-4 until the completion of the commitment hearing. After completion of the commitment hearing, jurisdiction is transferred to a court having jurisdiction under section 2 of this chapter and all subsequent petitions or motions shall be filed with the court to which the proceeding is transferred. The file of the commitment hearing also shall be transferred from the committing court to the court having probate jurisdiction.
 
Temporary Commitment:
12-26-6-1 Ninety-day commitment of individuals who are mentally ill and either dangerous or gravely disabled
An individual who is alleged to be mentally ill and either dangerous or gravely disabled may be committed to a facility for not more than ninety (90) days under this chapter.
 
Regular Commitment:
12-26-7-1 Application of chapter
This chapter applies to a proceeding for commitment of an individual:
(1) alleged to be mentally ill and either dangerous or gravely disabled; and
(2) whose commitment is reasonably expected to require custody, care, or treatment in a facility for more than ninety (90) days.
 
12-26-7-2 Application of section; commitment of persons apparently suffering from chronic mental illness; initiation of proceedings; petition
(a) This section does not apply to the commitment of an individual if the individual has previously been committed under IC 12-26-6.
(b) A proceeding for the commitment of an individual who appears to be suffering from a chronic mental illness may be begun by filing with a court having jurisdiction a written petition by any of the following:
(1) A health officer.
(2) A police officer.
(3) A friend of the individual.
(4) A relative of the individual.
(5) The spouse of the individual.
(6) A guardian of the individual.
(7) The superintendent of a facility where the individual is present.
(8) A prosecuting attorney in accordance with IC 35-36-2-4.
(9) A prosecuting attorney or the attorney for a county office if civil commitment proceedings are initiated under IC 31-34-19-3 or IC 31-37-18-3.
(10) A third party that contracts with the division of mental health and addiction to provide competency restoration services to a defendant under IC 35-36-3-3 or IC 35-36-3-4.
 
12-26-7-3 Petition; physician’s written statement; reports
(a) A petition filed under section 2 of this chapter must include a physician’s written statement that states both of the following:
(1) The physician has examined the individual within the past thirty (30) days.
(2) The physician believes that the individual is:
(A) mentally ill and either dangerous or gravely disabled; and
(B) in need of custody, care, or treatment in a facility for a period expected to be more than ninety (90) days.
(b) Except as provided in subsection (d), if the commitment is to a state institution administered by the division of mental health and addiction, the record of the proceedings must include a report from a community mental health center stating both of the following:
(1) The community mental health center has evaluated the individual.
(2) Commitment to a state institution administered by the division of mental health and addiction under this chapter is appropriate.
(c) The physician who makes the statement required by subsection (a) may be affiliated with the community mental health center that makes the report required by subsection (b).
(d) If the commitment is of an adult to a research bed at Larue D. Carter Memorial Hospital, as set forth in IC 12-21-2-3, the report from a community mental health center is not required.
(e) If a commitment ordered under subsection (a) is to a state institution administered by the division of disability and rehabilitative services, the record of commitment proceedings must include a report from a service coordinator employed by the division of disability and rehabilitative services stating that, based on a diagnostic assessment of the individual, commitment to a state institution administered by the division of disability and rehabilitative services under this chapter is appropriate.
 
12-26-7-4 Hearing date; rights of subject individual; hearing procedures
(a) Upon receiving:
(1) a petition under section 2 of this chapter; or
(2) a report under IC 12-26-6-11 that recommends treatment in a facility for more than ninety (90) days;
the court shall enter an order setting a hearing date.
(b) If an individual is currently under a commitment order, the hearing required by subsection (a) must be held before the expiration of the current commitment period. Notice of a hearing under this subsection shall be given to the individual and all other interested persons at least five (5) days before the hearing date.
(c) The rights of an individual who is the subject of a proceeding under this chapter and of a petitioner are the same as provided in IC 12-26-6.
(d) Hearing procedures are the same as those provided in IC 12-26-6.
 
12-26-7-5 Finding that individual is mentally ill and either dangerous or gravely disabled; order for treatment; duration of order
(a) If at the completion of the hearing and the consideration of the record an individual is found to be mentally ill and either dangerous or gravely disabled, the court may enter either of the following orders:
(1) For the individual’s custody, care, or treatment, or continued custody, care, or treatment in an appropriate facility.
(2) For the individual to enter an outpatient therapy program under IC 12-26-14.
(b) An order entered under subsection (a) continues until any of the following occurs:
(1) The individual has been:
(A) discharged from the facility; or
(B) released from the therapy program.
(2) The court enters an order:
(A) terminating the commitment; or
(B) releasing the individual from the therapy program.
(c) If the court makes a finding under subsection (a), the court shall transmit any information required by the division of state court administration to the division of state court administration for transmission to the NICS (as defined in IC 35-47-2.5-2.5) in accordance with IC 33-24-6-3.
 
Common Law:
State v. Davis, 898 N.E.2d 281 (Ind. 2008)
“Under Indiana Code § 35–50–6–3(a) a person earns ‘one (1) day credit time for each day he is imprisoned for a crime or confined awaiting trial or sentencing.’ And confinement in this context includes time a criminal defendant spends in a mental health facility as a part of the criminal proceedings.” Subsequently, the court found that Davis “became immune from being sentenced to further confinement as of November 2005 by which time she had been confined for a total of eighteen months” because the maximum term of imprisonment she could receive was three years.
 
State v. Jones, 918 N.E.2d 436 (Ind. Ct. App. 2009)
Jones was arrested on three separate occasions for criminal trespass. On June 17, 2008, the trial court ordered Jones to undergo a test for competency to stand trial. Jones was committed to the Department of Mental Health until at least June 19, 2009. On January 5, 2009, Jones filed a motion to dismiss his three cases, arguing that he had already been detained for longer than his maximum possible sentence. The trial court granted Jones’ motion.
On appeal, the court affirmed in part and reversed in part. Based on Jones’ charges, three Class A misdemeanors, the most time he could serve was 3 years. Further, based on time that Jones was in jail and the state hospital, he earned 756 total days of credit. Therefore, the Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of the first two cases by applying 730 days of Jones’ credit. However, the court denied the dismissal of the third case because he did not have enough days of credit time accrued.
 
 
Issues regarding mental illness and competency to stand trial can be very complex.  If you find yourself charged with a crime and have a history of mental illness, contact the attorneys at Banks & Brower, LLC to understand your rights.  Call 317-870-0019 today.