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§27-6A-2. Competency of defendant to stand trial; cause for appointment of qualified forensic evaluator; written report; observation period.

(a) Whenever a court of record has reasonable cause to believe that a defendant in which an indictment has been returned, or a warrant or summons issued, may be incompetent to stand trial it shall, sua sponte or upon motion filed by the state or by or on behalf of the defendant, at any stage of the proceedings order a forensic evaluation of the defendant's competency to stand trial to be conducted by one or more qualified forensic psychiatrists, or one or more qualified forensic psychologists. If a court of record or other judicial officer orders both a competency evaluation and a criminal responsibility or diminished capacity evaluation, the competency evaluation shall be performed first, and if a qualified forensic evaluator is of the opinion that a defendant is not competent to stand trial, no criminal responsibility or diminished capacity evaluation may be conducted without further order of the court. The initial forensic evaluation may not be conducted at a state inpatient mental health facility unless the defendant resides there.

(b) The court shall require the party making the motion for the evaluation, and other parties as the court considers appropriate, to provide to the qualified forensic evaluator appointed under subsection (a) of this section any information relevant to the evaluations within ten business days of its evaluation order. The information shall include, but not be limited to:

(1) A copy of the warrant or indictment;

(2) Information pertaining to the alleged crime, including statements by the defendant made to the police, investigative reports and transcripts of preliminary hearings, if any;

(3) Any available psychiatric, psychological, medical or social records that are considered relevant;

(4) A copy of the defendant's criminal record; and

(5) If the evaluations are to include a diminished capacity assessment, the nature of any lesser included criminal offenses.

(c) A qualified forensic evaluator shall schedule and arrange for the prompt completion of any court-ordered evaluation which may include record review and defendant interview and shall, within ten business days of the date of the completion of any evaluation, provide to the court of record a written, signed report of his or her opinion on the issue of competency to stand trial. If it is the qualified forensic evaluator's opinion that the defendant is not competent to stand trial, the report shall state whether the defendant is substantially likely to attain competency within the next three months and, in order to attain competency to stand trial, whether the defendant requires inpatient management in a mental health facility. The court may extend the ten-day period for filing the report if a qualified forensic evaluator shows good cause to extend the period, but in no event may the period exceed thirty days. If there are no objections by the state or defense counsel, the court may, by order, dismiss the requirement for a written report if the qualified forensic evaluator's opinion may otherwise be made known to the court and interested parties.

(d) If the court determines that the defendant has been uncooperative during the forensic evaluation ordered pursuant to subsection (a) of this section or there have been one or more inadequate or conflicting forensic evaluations performed pursuant to subsection (a) of this section and the court has reason to believe that an observation period is necessary in order to determine if a person is competent to stand trial, the court may order the defendant be committed to a mental health facility designated by the department for a period not to exceed fifteen days and an additional evaluation be conducted in accordance with subsection (a) of this section by one or more qualified forensic psychiatrists, or a qualified forensic psychiatrist and a qualified forensic psychologist. The court shall order that at the conclusion of the fifteen-day observation period the sheriff of the county where the defendant was charged shall take immediate custody of the defendant for transportation and disposition as ordered by the court.

(e) A mental health facility not operated by the state is not obligated to admit and treat a defendant under this section.

Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2017 Regular Session
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