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2014 California Rules of Court

Rule 5.645. Mental health or condition of child; court procedures

(a) Doubt concerning the mental health of a child (§§ 357, 705, 6550, 6551)

Whenever the court believes that the child who is the subject of a petition filed under section 300, 601, or 602 is mentally disabled or may be mentally ill, the court may stay the proceedings and order the child taken to a facility designated by the court and approved by the State Department of Mental Health as a facility for 72-hour treatment and evaluation. The professional in charge of the facility must submit a written evaluation of the child to the court.

(Subd (a) amended effective January 1, 2007.)

(b) Findings regarding a mental disorder (§ 6551)

Article 1 of chapter 2 of part 1 of division 5 (commencing with section 5150) applies.

(1)If the professional reports that the child is not in need of intensive treatment, the child must be returned to the juvenile court on or before the expiration of the 72-hour period, and the court must proceed with the case under section 300, 601, or 602.

(2)If the professional in charge of the facility finds that the child is in need of intensive treatment for a mental disorder, the child may be certified for not more than 14 days of involuntary intensive treatment according to the conditions of sections 5250(c) and 5260(b). The stay of the juvenile court proceedings must remain in effect during this time.

(A)During or at the end of the 14 days of involuntary intensive treatment, a certification may be sought for additional treatment under sections commencing with 5270.10 or for the initiation of proceedings to have a conservator appointed for the child under sections commencing with 5350. The juvenile court may retain jurisdiction over the child during proceedings under sections 5270.10 et seq. and 5350 et seq.

(B)For a child subject to a petition under section 602, if the child is found to be gravely disabled under sections 5300 et seq., a conservator is appointed under those sections, and the professional in charge of the child's treatment or of the treatment facility determines that proceedings under section 602 would be detrimental to the child, the juvenile court must suspend jurisdiction while the conservatorship remains in effect. The suspension of jurisdiction may end when the conservatorship is terminated, and the original 602 matter may be calendared for further proceedings.

(Subd (b) amended effective January 1, 2007.)

(c) Findings regarding mental retardation (§ 6551)

Article 1 of chapter 2 of part 1 of division 5 (commencing with section 5150) applies.

(1)If the professional finds that the child is mentally retarded and recommends commitment to a state hospital, the court may direct the filing in the appropriate court of a petition for commitment of a child as a mentally retarded person to the State Department of Developmental Services for placement in a state hospital.

(2)If the professional finds that the child is not mentally retarded, the child must be returned to the juvenile court on or before the expiration of the 72-hour period, and the court must proceed with the case under section 300, 601, or 602.

(3)The jurisdiction of the juvenile court must be suspended while the child is subject to the jurisdiction of the appropriate court under a petition for commitment of a mentally retarded person, or under remand for 90 days for intensive treatment or commitment ordered by that court.

(Subd (c) amended effective January 1, 2009; previously amended effective January 1, 2007.)

(d) Doubt as to capacity to cooperate with counsel (§§ 601, 602; Pen. Code, § 1367)

(1)If the court finds that there is substantial evidence that a child who is the subject of a petition filed under section 601 or 602 lacks sufficient present ability to consult with counsel and assist in preparing his or her defense with a reasonable degree of rational understanding, or lacks a rational as well as factual understanding of the nature of the charges or proceedings against him or her, the court must suspend the proceedings and conduct a hearing regarding the child's competence. Evidence is substantial if it raises a reasonable doubt about the child's competence to stand trial.

(A)The court must appoint an expert to examine the child to evaluate whether the child suffers from a mental disorder, developmental disability, developmental immaturity, or other condition and, if so, whether the condition or conditions impair the child's competency.

(B)To be appointed as an expert, an individual must be a:

(i)Licensed psychiatrist who has successfully completed four years of medical school and either four years of general psychiatry residency, including one year of internship and two years of child and adolescent fellowship training, or three years of general psychiatry residency, including one year of internship and one year of residency that focus on children and adolescents and one year of child and adolescent fellowship training; or

(ii)Clinical, counseling, or school psychologist who has received a doctoral degree in psychology from an educational institution accredited by an organization recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and who is licensed as a psychologist.

(C)The expert, whether a licensed psychiatrist or psychologist, must:

(i)Possess demonstrable professional experience addressing child and adolescent developmental issues, including the emotional, behavioral, and cognitive impairments of children and adolescents;

(ii)Have expertise in the cultural and social characteristics of children and adolescents;

(iii) Possess a curriculum vitae reflecting training and experience in the forensic evaluation of children;

(iv)Be familiar with juvenile competency standards and accepted criteria used in evaluating juvenile competence;

(v)Possess a comprehensive understanding of effective interventions as well as treatment, training, and programs for the attainment of competency available to children and adolescents; and

(vi)Be proficient in the language preferred by the child, or if that is not feasible, employ the services of a certified interpreter and use assessment tools that are linguistically and culturally appropriate for the child.

(2)Nothing in this rule precludes involvement of clinicians with other professional qualifications from participation as consultants or witnesses or in other capacities relevant to the case.

(3)Following the hearing on competence, the court must proceed as directed in section 709.

(Subd (d) amended effective January 1, 2012; previously amended effective January 1, 2007.)

Rule 5.645 amended effective January 1, 2012; adopted as rule 1498 effective January 1, 1999; previously amended and renumbered effective January 1, 2007; previously amended effective January 1, 2009.

Advisory Committee Comment

Welfare and Institutions Code section 709(b) mandates that the Judicial Council develop and adopt rules regarding the qualification of experts to determine competency for purposes of juvenile adjudication. Upon a court finding of incompetency based on a developmental disability, the regional center determines eligibility for services under Division 4.5 of the Lanterman Developmental Disabilities Services (Welf. & Inst. Code, § 4500 et seq.).

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