CA SB 1323

Title: Criminal procedure: competence to stand trial.
Author: Henry I. Stern

SB 1323, as amended, Menjivar. Criminal procedure: competence to stand trial. (1) Existing law prohibits a person from being tried or adjudged to punishment while that person is mentally incompetent. Existing law establishes a process by which a defendant’s mental competency is evaluated and if the defendant is found incompetent to stand trial, the proceedings are suspended while the defendant receives treatment, with the goal of restoring the defendant to competency.Existing law, if a doubt is raised as to the mental competence of a defendant, requires the court, either on the request of counsel or on its own motion, to hold a hearing, as specified, to determine the mental competence of the defendant.This bill would instead, in lieu of a hearing, allow an evaluation of the defendant by one or 2 licensed psychologists or psychiatrists and would require them to submit a report, as specified, to the court. The bill would allow the court, if neither party objects to the reports of these experts, to make a determination based upon these reports. The bill would also require the court to make a determination regarding the defendant’s capacity to make decisions regarding the administration of antipsychotic medication.This bill would, if either party objects to the court making a determination based on the reports, require a hearing to be held to determine the competence of the defendant. The bill would apply a presumption of competence to the defendant and would place the burden of proof upon the party seeking a finding of incompetence. The bill would, as specified, require the hearing to be held by jury trial or bench trial.(2) Existing law, in the case of a defendant charged with a felony, requires that, upon a finding of mental incompetence, the proceedings be suspended until the defendant regains competence. Existing law prescribes a program of pretrial diversion for defendants with a diagnosed mental disorder whose disorder was a significant factor in the commission of their offense. Under existing law, persons charged with certain offenses, including murder, rape, sexual abuse of a child, and possession of a weapon of mass destruction, are ineligible for diversion.This bill would require the court, upon a finding of mental incompetence of a defendant charged with a felony that is not ineligible for diversion, to determine if it is in the interests of justice to restore the defendant to competence. The bill would require the court, if the restoration of the defendant’s mental competence is not in the interests of justice, to hold a hearing to consider granting mental health diversion or other programs to the defendant, as specified.If a defendant is returned to court having not been restored to mental competence, this bill would require the defendant to be presumed incompetent and be returned to treatment, as specified.(3) The bill would make other conforming changes.

From committee with author's amendments. Read second time and amended. Re-referred to Com. on PUB. S.

Bill Documents
CA SB 1323 - 06/11/24 - Amended Assembly
06/11/24 - CA SB 1323 (06/11/24 - Amended Assembly)

CA SB 1323 - 05/16/24 - Amended Senate
05/16/24 - CA SB 1323 (05/16/24 - Amended Senate)

CA SB 1323 - 03/21/24 - Amended Senate
03/21/24 - CA SB 1323 (03/21/24 - Amended Senate)

CA SB 1323 - 02/16/24 - Introduced
02/16/24 - CA SB 1323 (02/16/24 - Introduced)

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Author Details

  • Henry Stern - D
    Senator - State Senate - CA

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