MONTGOMERY COUNTY COMMON PLEAS COURT, GENERAL DIVISION
NEW LOCAL RULE 3.16, MENTAL HEALTH COURT
(EMERGENCY STATUS – EFFECTIVE DECEMBER 18, 2017)
The General Division of the Montgomery County Common Pleas Court added Local Rule 3.16 effective DECEMBER 18, 2017.
Pursuant to Mont. Co. C.P.R. 1.03 of the Local Rules of Practice and Procedure for the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas and Rule 5 of the Rules of Superintendence for the Courts of Ohio, the adopted amendments are being published for a sixty-day comment period beginning Monday, December 18, 2017, through Thursday, February 15, 2018.
Comments regarding Local Rule 3.16 can be submitted via email to email@example.com or in writing to:
James E. Dare, Court Administrator
Montgomery County Common Pleas Court
41 N. Perry Street
P.O. Box 972
Dayton, OH 45422
Comments must be received by 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 15, 2018.
Rule 3.16 – Mental Health Court
A. CREATION OF SPECIALIZED DOCKET – MENTAL HEALTH COURT (“MHC”):
This Court intends to create a specialized docket program, pursuant to the specialized docket standards set forth in Sup.R. 36.20 – 36.28, including Appendix I. The purpose of the MHC is to offer intensive probation and targeted treatment for offenders who have been diagnosed with a serious mental illness, where such illness contributed to the offender’s involvement in the criminal justice system.
The goals of the MHC are as follows:
1. Improve participants’ overall access to and compliance with treatment.
2. Reduce recidivism among offenders with a serious mental illness.
3. Establish stability, accountability for actions, and continued mental health.
4. Reduce homelessness of participants of the specialized docket.
5. Reduce participants’ jail/prison/institutional bed days.
B. THE MHC TEAM:
The “MHC Team” shall consist of the Judge assigned to MHC (“MHC Judge”), the Program Coordinators, Adult Probation Department Manager and staff, a designated Probation Officer, licensed treatment providers, community based employment program personnel, the Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, and Defense Counsel. The MHC Team shall convene bi-monthly to discuss the progress and status of individual offenders, apply sanctions or incentives as needed, and for any other matters.
C. ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA FOR MHC ADMISSION:
1. The assigned Judge may order a defendant to MHC through a guilty or no contest plea, probation violation, judicial release, other early release options, or ILC.
2. In order for a defendant to be eligible for the MHC, the defendant must meet certain legal and clinical eligibility requirements. These requirements are as follows:
a. Legal eligibility:
i. Offenders who are current residents of Montgomery County, Ohio.
ii. Offenders who are charged with one or more felonies.
iii. Offenders may be considered for admission to the MHC pre-plea, post-conviction, or as a result of a probation violation.
iv. All offenders are required to enter a guilty plea prior to admission to the MHC and acknowledge having a serious mental illness that requires treatment.
v. If eligible, offenders may complete MHC as an Intervention in Lieu of Conviction. Otherwise, offenders will be admitted on community control.
vi. Offenders eligible for judicial release may also be considered.
vii. Offenders who have a history of persistent reoffending that is unrelated to their mental health diagnoses are ineligible.
viii. Offenders who have a history of serious or repetitive violence are generally ineligible.
ix. Individuals determined to be legally incompetent are ineligible.
x. Crimes involving child victims will likely render the offender ineligible.
xi. Sexually oriented offenses and violent offenses involving a victim with a serious injury will likely disqualify an offender.
Prior to admission, each offender’s criminal background will be thoroughly reviewed. A history of serious or repetitive violence, including domestic violence convictions where physical harm or weapons were involved, will likely exclude an offender from the MHC. Such a determination will be left to the discretion of the MHC Judge in accordance with the written policies governing the MHC. An offender’s criminal history will always be considered in assessing the offender’s risk to the staff and the community.
Any issues regarding competency shall be resolved before an offender can enter the MHC.
b. Clinical eligibility:
i. To be admitted to MHC, participants must have been diagnosed with a serious mental illness, including, but not limited to, the following:
(1) Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective Disorder (bipolar or depressive), Bipolar Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Panic Disorder, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, as diagnosed by a licensed provider and as described in the most current edition of the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders).
ii. Participants must also have the cognitive ability to understand the expectations of MHC and to voluntarily enter into the program, as determined by a licensed provider.
Meeting the aforementioned legal and clinical eligibility criteria does not result in automatic admission to the MHC. Admission to the program is within the sole discretion of the MHC Judge in accordance with the written policies and procedures governing the program and based upon the recommendations of licensed providers.
D. REFERRING DEFENDANTS TO Mental Health Court:
1. Entry into the MHC shall be upon the referral from judges, attorneys, case managers, probation officers, or others. All referral information shall be immediately sent to the MHC Judge or MHC judicial staff.
2. The MHC Judge shall have final discretion to decide if the defendant is eligible for the MHC.
After a defendant is admitted to the MHC as a community control sanction or an Intervention Lieu of Conviction, along with any other appropriate sanctions, the MHC Judge shall have authority over any and all further court proceedings. The MHC Judge shall have the authority to conduct arraignments, accept pleas, enter findings and dispositions, revoke community control or ILC, and order or modify community control sanctions or ILC.
F. TREATMENT PHASES:
MHC offenders shall be required to complete four phases of treatment, as individually necessary, and complete all other requirements as identified in the MHC Participant Handbook and MHC Participation Agreement. MHC offenders shall comply with all the rules and expectations set forth in the Participant Handbook and as indicated by the MHC Judge at each offender’s initial appearance. While in MHC, the offender shall receive treatment services to attain stability of mental health symptoms and assist in meeting criminogenic needs. Upon graduation, the offender may be required to remain under community control or ILC sanctions to ensure continued compliance and success.
G. SANCTIONS FOR NON-COMPLIANCE:
Sanctions for a MHC offender’s non-compliance shall vary in intensity and may include, but are not limited to, the following:
1. Warnings and admonitions from the MHC Judge;
2. Imposition of requirements or restrictions from an earlier MHC phase;
3. Increased frequency of drug or alcohol testing and court appearances;
4. Increased supervision contacts and monitoring;
5. Community service or work program;
6. Jail or out of home placement;
7. Community control or ILC violation;
8. Termination from MHC; and
9. Commitment to S.T.O.P., MonDay Community Correctional Facility, or any other community based facility approved by the MHC.
H. UNSUCCESSFUL TERMINATIONS:
1. Reasons for termination from the MHC include, but are not limited to:
a. Failure to remain clean from illegal substances or alcohol;
b. Violation of the General Conditions of Supervision;
c. Violation of any community control or ILC sanctions; and
d. Failure to comply with the MHC Participation Agreement, the MHC Participant Handbook, or any other orders from the MHC Judge.
2. If an offender is terminated from MHC for reasons stated in subsection (H)(1) of this Rule, or for any other reasons as determined by the MHC Judge, the offender may be subject to a community control or ILC revocation hearing.
3. If a hearing is required pursuant to subsection (H)(2) of this Rule:
a. The MHC Judge shall adjudicate the proceedings;
b. The offender may have his or her community control or ILC sanctions modified. Modification may include, but are not limited to, commitment to a CBCF, revocation of community control or ILC, or termination from MHC;
c. The MHC Judge shall have the sole discretion to refer an offender to the originally assigned Judge for further proceedings; and
d. The laws governing revocation apply, and the offender has a right to counsel.
I. STATISTICAL REPORTS:
For purposes of Supreme Court statistical reports, the case shall be considered disposed by the assigned Judge when the defendant is sentenced to MHC or the defendant is ordered into MHC as a condition of ILC.