WEST virginia legislature
2016 regular session
Senate Bill 438
By Senator Ferns
Referred to the Committee on Health and Human Resources; and then to the Committee on the Judiciary.]
A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new section, designated §27-6A-2a, relating to notification and recommendation of Department of Health and Human Resources with regard to placement of criminal defendants committed to the department’s care and custody.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new section, designated §27-6A-2a, to read as follows:
ARTICLE 6A. COMPETENCY AND CRIMINAL RESPONSIBILITY OF PERSONS CHARGED OR CONVICTED OF A CRIME.
§27-6A-2a. Department of Health and Human Resources notice and recommendation regarding placement.
Whenever a court of competent jurisdiction determines a hearing is necessary for purposes of adjudicating whether a criminal defendant shall be placed in an inpatient mental health facility operated by the state in accordance with this article, the Department of Health and Human Resources shall be given notice of the hearing and an opportunity to provide recommendations concerning placement of the defendant with the department. Upon a determination that a criminal defendant shall be placed in an inpatient mental health facility operated by the state, the recommendations of the Department of Health and Human Resources as to placement, if offered, shall be afforded deference by the court.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to require that a representative of the Department of Health and Human Resources be in attendance at any judicial proceeding in which a mental hygiene commissioner, magistrate court and/or circuit court may commit an individual to the care and custody of the department for purposes of psychiatric evaluation and/or treatment. The bill would further require that presiding judicial officer give deference to the representative’s recommendation as to the appropriate placement for the individual once committed.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from a heading or the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.