Missouri Revised Statutes

Chapter 552
Criminal Proceedings Involving Mental Illness
Section 552.020

August 28, 2014


Lack of mental capacity bar to trial or conviction--psychiatric examination, when, report of--plea of not guilty by reason of mental disease, supporting pretrial evaluation, conditions of release--commitment to hospital, when--statements of accused inadmissible, when--jury may be impaneled to determine mental fitness.

552.020. 1. No person who as a result of mental disease or defect lacks capacity to understand the proceedings against him or to assist in his own defense shall be tried, convicted or sentenced for the commission of an offense so long as the incapacity endures.

2. Whenever any judge has reasonable cause to believe that the accused lacks mental fitness to proceed, he shall, upon his own motion or upon motion filed by the state or by or on behalf of the accused, by order of record, appoint one or more private psychiatrists or psychologists, as defined in section 632.005, or physicians with a minimum of one year training or experience in providing treatment or services to persons with an intellectual disability or developmental disability or mental illness, who are neither employees nor contractors of the department of mental health for purposes of performing the examination in question, to examine the accused; or shall direct the director to have the accused so examined by one or more psychiatrists or psychologists, as defined in section 632.005, or physicians with a minimum of one year training or experience in providing treatment or services to persons with an intellectual disability, developmental disability, or mental illness. The order shall direct that a written report or reports of such examination be filed with the clerk of the court. No private physician, psychiatrist, or psychologist shall be appointed by the court unless he has consented to act. The examinations ordered shall be made at such time and place and under such conditions as the court deems proper; except that, if the order directs the director of the department to have the accused examined, the director, or his designee, shall determine the time, place and conditions under which the examination shall be conducted. The order may include provisions for the interview of witnesses and may require the provision of police reports to the department for use in evaluations. The department shall establish standards and provide training for those individuals performing examinations pursuant to this section and section 552.030. No individual who is employed by or contracts with the department shall be designated to perform an examination pursuant to this chapter unless the individual meets the qualifications so established by the department. Any examination performed pursuant to this subsection shall be completed and filed with the court within sixty days of the order unless the court for good cause orders otherwise. Nothing in this section or section 552.030 shall be construed to permit psychologists to engage in any activity not authorized by chapter 337. One pretrial evaluation shall be provided at no charge to the defendant by the department. All costs of subsequent evaluations shall be assessed to the party requesting the evaluation.

3. A report of the examination made under this section shall include:

(1) Detailed findings;

(2) An opinion as to whether the accused has a mental disease or defect;

(3) An opinion based upon a reasonable degree of medical or psychological certainty as to whether the accused, as a result of a mental disease or defect, lacks capacity to understand the proceedings against him or to assist in his own defense;

(4) A recommendation as to whether the accused should be held in custody in a suitable hospital facility for treatment pending determination, by the court, of mental fitness to proceed; and

(5) A recommendation as to whether the accused, if found by the court to be mentally fit to proceed, should be detained in such hospital facility pending further proceedings.

4. If the accused has pleaded lack of responsibility due to mental disease or defect or has given the written notice provided in subsection 2 of section 552.030, the court shall order the report of the examination conducted pursuant to this section to include, in addition to the information required in subsection 3 of this section, an opinion as to whether at the time of the alleged criminal conduct the accused, as a result of mental disease or defect, did not know or appreciate the nature, quality, or wrongfulness of his conduct or as a result of mental disease or defect was incapable of conforming his conduct to the requirements of law. A plea of not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect shall not be accepted by the court in the absence of any such pretrial evaluation which supports such a defense. In addition, if the accused has pleaded not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect, and the alleged crime is not a dangerous felony as defined in section 556.061, or those crimes set forth in subsection 11 of section 552.040, or the attempts thereof, the court shall order the report of the examination to include an opinion as to whether or not the accused should be immediately conditionally released by the court pursuant to the provisions of section 552.040 or should be committed to a mental health or developmental disability facility. If such an evaluation is conducted at the direction of the director of the department of mental health, the court shall also order the report of the examination to include an opinion as to the conditions of release which are consistent with the needs of the accused and the interest of public safety, including, but not limited to, the following factors:

(1) Location and degree of necessary supervision of housing;

(2) Location of and responsibilities for appropriate psychiatric, rehabilitation and aftercare services, including the frequency of such services;

(3) Medication follow-up, including necessary testing to monitor medication compliance;

(4) At least monthly contact with the department's forensic case monitor;

(5) Any other conditions or supervision as may be warranted by the circumstances of the case.

5. If the report contains the recommendation that the accused should be committed to or held in a suitable hospital facility pending determination of the issue of mental fitness to proceed, and if the accused is not admitted to bail or released on other conditions, the court may order that the accused be committed to or held in a suitable hospital facility pending determination of the issue of mental fitness to proceed.

6. The clerk of the court shall deliver copies of the report to the prosecuting or circuit attorney and to the accused or his counsel. The report shall not be a public record or open to the public. Within ten days after the filing of the report, both the defendant and the state shall, upon written request, be entitled to an order granting them an examination of the accused by a psychiatrist or psychologist, as defined in section 632.005, or a physician with a minimum of one year training or experience in providing treatment or services to persons with an intellectual disability or developmental disability or mental illness, of their own choosing and at their own expense. An examination performed pursuant to this subsection shall be completed and a report filed with the court within sixty days of the date it is received by the department or private psychiatrist, psychologist or physician unless the court, for good cause, orders otherwise. A copy shall be furnished the opposing party.

7. If neither the state nor the accused nor his counsel requests a second examination relative to fitness to proceed or contests the findings of the report referred to in subsections 2 and 3 of this section, the court may make a determination and finding on the basis of the report filed or may hold a hearing on its own motion. If any such opinion is contested, the court shall hold a hearing on the issue. The court shall determine the issue of mental fitness to proceed and may impanel a jury of six persons to assist in making the determination. The report or reports may be received in evidence at any hearing on the issue but the party contesting any opinion therein shall have the right to summon and to cross-examine the examiner who rendered such opinion and to offer evidence upon the issue.

8. At a hearing on the issue pursuant to subsection 7 of this section, the accused is presumed to have the mental fitness to proceed. The burden of proving that the accused does not have the mental fitness to proceed is by a preponderance of the evidence and the burden of going forward with the evidence is on the party raising the issue. The burden of going forward shall be on the state if the court raises the issue.

9. If the court determines that the accused lacks mental fitness to proceed, the criminal proceedings shall be suspended and the court shall commit him to the director of the department of mental health.

10. Any person committed pursuant to subsection 9 of this section shall be entitled to the writ of habeas corpus upon proper petition to the court that committed him. The issue of the mental fitness to proceed after commitment under subsection 9 of this section may also be raised by a motion filed by the director of the department of mental health or by the state, alleging the mental fitness of the accused to proceed. A report relating to the issue of the accused's mental fitness to proceed may be attached thereto. If the motion is not contested by the accused or his counsel or if after a hearing on a motion the court finds the accused mentally fit to proceed, or if he is ordered discharged from the director's custody upon a habeas corpus hearing, the criminal proceedings shall be resumed.

11. The following provisions shall apply after a commitment as provided in this section:

(1) Six months after such commitment, the court which ordered the accused committed shall order an examination by the head of the facility in which the accused is committed, or a qualified designee, to ascertain whether the accused is mentally fit to proceed and if not, whether there is a substantial probability that the accused will attain the mental fitness to proceed to trial in the foreseeable future. The order shall direct that written report or reports of the examination be filed with the clerk of the court within thirty days and the clerk shall deliver copies to the prosecuting attorney or circuit attorney and to the accused or his counsel. The report required by this subsection shall conform to the requirements under subsection 3 of this section with the additional requirement that it include an opinion, if the accused lacks mental fitness to proceed, as to whether there is a substantial probability that the accused will attain the mental fitness to proceed in the foreseeable future;

(2) Within ten days after the filing of the report, both the accused and the state shall, upon written request, be entitled to an order granting them an examination of the accused by a psychiatrist or psychologist, as defined in section 632.005, or a physician with a minimum of one year training or experience in providing treatment or services to persons with an intellectual disability or developmental disability or mental illness, of their own choosing and at their own expense. An examination performed pursuant to this subdivision shall be completed and filed with the court within thirty days unless the court, for good cause, orders otherwise. A copy shall be furnished to the opposing party;

(3) If neither the state nor the accused nor his counsel requests a second examination relative to fitness to proceed or contests the findings of the report referred to in subdivision (1) of this subsection, the court may make a determination and finding on the basis of the report filed, or may hold a hearing on its own motion. If any such opinion is contested, the court shall hold a hearing on the issue. The report or reports may be received in evidence at any hearing on the issue but the party contesting any opinion therein relative to fitness to proceed shall have the right to summon and to cross-examine the examiner who rendered such opinion and to offer evidence upon the issue;

(4) If the accused is found mentally fit to proceed, the criminal proceedings shall be resumed;

(5) If it is found that the accused lacks mental fitness to proceed but there is a substantial probability the accused will be mentally fit to proceed in the reasonably foreseeable future, the court shall continue such commitment for a period not longer than six months, after which the court shall reinstitute the proceedings required under subdivision (1) of this subsection;

(6) If it is found that the accused lacks mental fitness to proceed and there is no substantial probability that the accused will be mentally fit to proceed in the reasonably foreseeable future, the court shall dismiss the charges without prejudice and the accused shall be discharged, but only if proper proceedings have been filed under chapter 632 or chapter 475, in which case those sections and no others will be applicable. The probate division of the circuit court shall have concurrent jurisdiction over the accused upon the filing of a proper pleading to determine if the accused shall be involuntarily detained under chapter 632, or to determine if the accused shall be declared incapacitated under chapter 475, and approved for admission by the guardian under section 632.120 or 633.120, to a mental health or developmental disability facility. When such proceedings are filed, the criminal charges shall be dismissed without prejudice if the court finds that the accused is mentally ill and should be committed or that he is incapacitated and should have a guardian appointed. The period of limitation on prosecuting any criminal offense shall be tolled during the period that the accused lacks mental fitness to proceed.

12. If the question of the accused's mental fitness to proceed was raised after a jury was impaneled to try the issues raised by a plea of not guilty and the court determines that the accused lacks the mental fitness to proceed or orders the accused committed for an examination pursuant to this section, the court may declare a mistrial. Declaration of a mistrial under these circumstances, or dismissal of the charges pursuant to subsection 11 of this section, does not constitute jeopardy, nor does it prohibit the trial, sentencing or execution of the accused for the same offense after he has been found restored to competency.

13. The result of any examinations made pursuant to this section shall not be a public record or open to the public.

14. No statement made by the accused in the course of any examination or treatment pursuant to this section and no information received by any examiner or other person in the course thereof, whether such examination or treatment was made with or without the consent of the accused or upon his motion or upon that of others, shall be admitted in evidence against the accused on the issue of guilt in any criminal proceeding then or thereafter pending in any court, state or federal. A finding by the court that the accused is mentally fit to proceed shall in no way prejudice the accused in a defense to the crime charged on the ground that at the time thereof he was afflicted with a mental disease or defect excluding responsibility, nor shall such finding by the court be introduced in evidence on that issue nor otherwise be brought to the notice of the jury.

(L. 1963 p. 674 ยง 2, A.L. 1969 p. 572, A.L. 1971 S.B. 171, A.L. 1980 H.B. 1724, A.L. 1985 S.B. 265, A.L. 1994 S.B. 763, A.L. 1997 S.B. 56, A.L. 2011 H.B. 555 merged with H.B. 648)


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