2010 Georgia Code
TITLE 15 - COURTS
CHAPTER 11 - JUVENILE PROCEEDINGS
ARTICLE 4 - MENTAL HEALTH
§ 15-11-153 - Hearing to determine mental competency; procedure; burden of proof; calculating time for adjudication of offense; adjudication as mentally incompetent
. Hearing to determine mental competency; procedure; burden of proof; calculating time for adjudication of offense; adjudication as mentally incompetent
(a) A hearing to determine mental competency shall be conducted within 60 days after the initial court order for evaluation. At least ten days' prior written notice of the hearing shall be transmitted to the child, any parent, guardian, or other legal custodian of the child, any guardian ad litem for the child, the attorney representing the child, and the attorney representing the state. Ten days' prior written notice of the hearing shall be served on the prosecuting attorney for all mental competency proceedings in which the prosecuting attorney, or a member of the prosecuting attorney's staff, may participate. The hearing may be continued by the court for good cause shown.
(b) The burden of proving that the child is not mentally competent shall be on the child. The standard of proof necessary for proving mental incompetency shall be a preponderance of the evidence.
(c) At the hearing to determine mental competency, the attorney representing the child and the attorney representing the state shall have the right to:
(1) Present evidence;
(2) Call and examine witnesses;
(3) Cross-examine witnesses; and
(4) Present arguments.
The qualified examiner appointed by the court shall be considered the court's witness and shall be subject to cross-examination by both the attorney representing the child and the attorney representing the state.
(d) The court's findings of fact shall be based on any evaluations of the child's mental condition conducted by qualified examiners appointed by the court and any evaluations of the child's mental condition conducted by independent evaluators hired by the parties and any additional evidence presented.
(e) If the court finds that the child is mentally competent, the proceedings which have been suspended shall be resumed and the time limits under Article 1 of this chapter for adjudication and disposition of the petition shall begin to run from the date of the order finding the child mentally competent.
(f) If the court finds that the child is not mentally competent, the child shall be adjudicated dependent by the court. At the time the child is adjudicated dependent upon the court, the court shall appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the best interests of the child if a guardian ad litem has not been appointed previously.
(g) All court orders determining incompetency shall include specific written findings by the court as to the nature of the incompetency and whether the child requires a secure or nonsecure treatment.
(h) Copies of the court's findings shall be transmitted to the same parties to whom notice of the hearing was provided within ten days following the issuance of those findings.
Graham Syfert - Jacksonville Lawyer