The Use of Mental Health Professionals in Long Beach Court

Mental health professionals are very active in Long Beach criminal courts. Judges often order mental health examinations before deciding whether a formal competency hearing is warranted. California law permits a criminal court judge to appoint an expert when it appears that expert evidence is or may be required by the court or a party. In addition, based on the constitutional right to a fair trial, a trial court must appoint an expert for an indigent defendant if the defendant shows the expert’s services are reasonably necessary to his or her defense. If there is a reasonable possibility, even if it does not rise to the level of substantial evidence, that the defendant is unable to understand the proceedings or assist in his or her own defense, the Long Beach court must order a mental health examination before deciding there is no need for a formal competency hearing.  A mental health expert appointed by the court should be ordered to provide a report to the court, with copies for the criminal defense attorney and the prosecutor. The purpose of the report is to guide the court in determining whether to order a competency hearing. If the hearing is ordered, one or two additional doctors must be appointed and the defendant must be afforded due process rights to challenge their conclusions as part of that hearing.

2 Responses to The Use of Mental Health Professionals in Long Beach Court

  1. Back pain says:

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