Today's Law As Amended

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SB-8 Diversion: mental disorders.(2017-2018)

As Amends the Law Today

 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) Despite never being designed for the treatment or housing of those with mental health needs, jails have become the de facto mental health facilities in many communities across the country.
(b) Untreated mental health conditions frequently result in chronic homelessness and an inability to find stable employment or housing, increasing the likelihood that those suffering from mental illness come into contact with law enforcement.
(c) For many people suffering from mental disorders, incarceration only serves to aggravate preexisting conditions and does little to deter future lawlessness.
(d) For people who commit offenses as a direct consequence of a mental disorder, diversion into treatment is often not only more cost effective, but also more likely to protect public safety by reducing the likelihood that a person suffering from a mental health disorder reoffends in the future.
(e) Courts, as one of the first points of contact between the mentally ill and the state, can serve a useful function in identifying defendants with mental disorders and connecting them to existing services, thereby reducing recidivism.

SEC. 2.

 Chapter 2.9D (commencing with Section 1001.82) is added to Title 6 of Part 2 of the Penal Code, to read:

CHAPTER  2.9D. Diversion of Low-Level Offenders Whose Offense is a Product of Mental Illness
 (a) (1) Notwithstanding any other law, except as specified in paragraph (2), in any case before the court on an accusatory pleading alleging the commission of a misdemeanor offense or felony offense punishable in a county jail pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170, the court may, after considering the positions of the defense and prosecution, grant pretrial diversion to a defendant pursuant to this section if he or she meets all of the requirements specified in subdivision (b).
(2) Diversion is not available under this section without the consent of the prosecution for any of the following offenses:
(A) Any felony, with the exception of an offense specified in Title 13 (commencing with Section 450) or Title 14 (commencing with Section 594) of Part 1 of this code, Division 10 (commencing with Section 11000) of the Health and Safety Code, or Section 10851 of the Vehicle Code, including a conspiracy to commit these offenses or acting as an accessory to their commission.
(B) Any offense involving the unlawful use or unlawful possession of a firearm.
(C) A violation of Section 192 or 192.5.
(D) A violation of Section 288.4, 311.3, 311.4, 311.11, or 647.6.
(E) A violation of Section 23153 of the Vehicle Code.
(b) Pretrial diversion may be granted pursuant to this section if all of the following criteria are met:
(1) The court is satisfied that the defendant suffers from a mental disorder as identified in the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, including, but not limited to, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or post-traumatic stress disorder, but excluding antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, or pedophilia. Evidence of the defendant’s mental disorder shall be provided by the defense and shall include a diagnosis by a qualified expert. In opining that a defendant suffers from a qualifying disorder, the expert may rely on an examination of the defendant, medical records, evidence that the defendant receives federal supplemental security income benefits, arrest reports, or any other reliable evidence.
(2) The court is satisfied that the defendant’s mental disorder played a significant role in the commission of the charged offense. A court may conclude that a defendant’s mental disorder played a significant role in the commission of the charged offense if, after reviewing any relevant and credible evidence, including, but not limited to, police reports, preliminary hearing transcripts, witness statements, statements by the defendant’s mental health treatment provider, medical records, reports by qualified medical experts, or evidence that the defendant displayed symptoms consistent with the relevant mental disorder at or near the time of the offense, the court concludes that the defendant’s mental disorder substantially contributed to the defendant’s involvement in the commission of the offense.
(3) The court is satisfied that the defendant would benefit from mental health treatment.
(4) The defendant consents to diversion and waives his or her right to a speedy trial.
(c) As used in this chapter, “pretrial diversion” means the postponement of prosecution, either temporarily or permanently, at any point in the judicial process from the point at which the accused is charged until adjudication to allow the defendant to undergo mental health treatment, subject to the following:
(1) The defense shall arrange, to the satisfaction of the court, for a program of mental health treatment utilizing existing inpatient or outpatient mental health resources. Before approving a proposed treatment program, the court shall consider the requests of the defense, the requests of the prosecution, and the needs of the divertee and the community. A referral may be made to a county mental health agency to the extent that the divertee qualifies for services under existing law. Reports shall be provided to the court, the defense, and the prosecutor by the divertee’s mental health provider on the divertee’s progress in treatment at least every three months.
(2) If it appears to the court that the divertee is performing unsatisfactorily in the assigned program, or that the divertee is not benefiting from the treatment and services provided pursuant to the diversion program, the court shall, after notice to the divertee, defense counsel, and the prosecution, hold a hearing to determine whether the criminal proceedings should be reinstituted or whether the treatment program should be modified.
(3) The period during which criminal proceedings against the defendant may be diverted shall be no longer than two years.
(d) If the divertee has performed satisfactorily during the period of diversion, at the end of the period of diversion, the criminal charges shall be dismissed. A court may conclude that a divertee has performed satisfactorily if, in the court’s judgment, the divertee has substantially complied with the requirements of the treatment program, has avoided significant new violations of law unrelated to the defendant’s mental health condition, and has a plan in place for long-term mental health care. Upon dismissal of the charges, a record shall be filed with the Department of Justice indicating the disposition of the case diverted pursuant to this section. Upon successful completion of a diversion program, the arrest upon which the diversion was based shall be deemed never to have occurred, and the court shall order the record of the arrest sealed pursuant to Section 1001.9. The divertee who successfully completes the diversion program may indicate in response to any question concerning his or her prior criminal record that he or she was not arrested or diverted for the offense, except as specified in subdivision (e).
(e) Regardless of his or her successful completion of diversion, the arrest upon which the diversion was based may be disclosed by the Department of Justice in response to any peace officer application request. Notwithstanding subdivision (d), this section does not relieve the divertee who successfully completes diversion pursuant to this section of his or her obligation to disclose the arrest in a response to any direct question contained in any questionnaire or application for a position as a peace officer, as defined in Section 830. The divertee shall be advised of the requirements of this subdivision upon the successful completion of diversion.
(f) A finding that the defendant suffers from a mental disorder, any progress reports concerning the defendant’s treatment, or any other records created as a result of diversion pursuant to this section or for use at a hearing on the defendant’s eligibility for diversion under this section may not be used in any other proceeding without the defendant’s consent. However, when determining whether to exercise its discretion to grant diversion under this section, a court may consider previous records of arrests for which the defendant was granted diversion under this section.
SEC. 3.
 If the Commission on State Mandates determines that this act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Government Code.