Bill Text: NH SB126 | 2019 | Regular Session | Enrolled

Bill Title: Relative to competency evaluations for certain court proceedings.

Spectrum: Slight Partisan Bill (Democrat 2-1)

Status: (Passed) 2019-06-24 - Signed by the Governor on 06/21/2019; Chapter 0120; Effective 08/20/2019 [SB126 Detail]

Download: New_Hampshire-2019-SB126-Enrolled.html



03/21/2019   0978s







AN ACT relative to competency evaluations for certain court proceedings.


SPONSORS: Sen. Carson, Dist 14; Sen. Chandley, Dist 11; Rep. Wall, Straf. 6


COMMITTEE: Judiciary






This bill makes minor changes to the procedure for determining a defendant's competency to stand trial and replaces references to "involuntary commitment" with "involuntary admission."


This bill is a request of the department of health and human services.


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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.

Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]

Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.

03/21/2019   0978s 19-0939





In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Nineteen


AN ACT relative to competency evaluations for certain court proceedings.


Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:


1  Commitment to Hospitals; Competency.  Amend RSA 135:17, III to read as follows:

III.  If the [examiner] qualified psychiatrist or psychologist concludes that the defendant is not competent to stand trial under the definition set forth in II(b), the evaluation shall include the [examiner's] qualified psychiatrist's or psychologist's findings as to whether there is a course of treatment which is reasonably likely to restore the defendant to competency.

2  Commitment to Hospitals; Competency Hearing.  Amend RSA 135:17-a, III-IV to read as follows:

III.  Except for good cause shown, a further hearing to determine the defendant's competency shall be held no later than 12 months after the order committing the defendant for treatment.  The hearing may be held earlier if the court is notified that the defendant has been restored to competency, or that there is no longer a reasonable likelihood of such restoration.  The state or the secure psychiatric unit shall notify the state's attorney, defense counsel, and the office of the forensic examiner if the defendant's symptoms have been stabilized to allow the defendant's competency to be reevaluated.  Prior to the scheduled hearing, the qualified psychiatrist or psychologist who conducted the initial competency evaluation shall conduct a further evaluation pursuant to RSA 135:17, and furnish a copy of the report of such evaluation to the court and the parties.  If that qualified psychiatrist or psychologist is unavailable or unable to conduct such further evaluation, the court may order that the evaluation be conducted by another qualified psychiatrist or psychologist other than the treating qualified psychiatrist or psychologist.

IV.  If following the hearing, the court determines that the defendant has regained competency, within 60 days the court shall docket the matter and set a date for trial.  If the court finds that the defendant has not regained competency, the case against the defendant shall be dismissed without prejudice.

3  Commitment to Hospitals; Competency Evaluation.  Amend RSA 135:17-a, VI to read as follows:

VI.  If the person is ordered to be involuntarily [committed] admitted following proceedings pursuant to RSA 135-C or RSA 171-B, the court may, upon motion of the attorney general or county attorney at any time during the period of the involuntary [commitment] admission and before expiration of the limitations period applicable to the underlying criminal offense, order a further competency evaluation, to be conducted as prescribed in paragraph III.  Such further competency evaluations may be ordered if the court finds that there is a reasonable basis to believe that the person's condition has changed such that competency to stand trial may have been affected.  During proceedings authorized by this paragraph, the person is entitled to the assistance of counsel, including appointed counsel under RSA 135-C:22.

4  Mental Health Services; Eligibility of Programs.  Amend RSA 135-C:10, I(b) to read as follows:

(b)  Make involuntary [commitments] admissions under RSA 135-C:27-33 and RSA 135-C:34-54.

5  Effective Date.  This act shall take effect 60 days after its passage.