Did you know that you can request mental health diversion even after a trial? That’s what happened to one man who was found guilty of second degree robbery by a jury and successfully moved to represent himself.
Although a trial court initially doubted the defendant’s competence and suspended the criminal proceedings, the results of a psychological evaluation report found him competent and the proceedings were reinstated.
The defendant had mentioned at a hearing that he wanted to file a motion for mental health diversion under Penal Code Section 1001.36. However, the trial court said it was a pretrial motion that needed to be requested before trial, and since the defendant elected to go to a jury trial, it wasn’t timely.
Although the defendant was sentenced to 25 years to life, he appealed the decision, claiming his mental health diversion request was timely because Section 1001.36 says that diversion is available “at any time prior to sentencing.” According to Section 1001.36, “pretrial diversion” is defined as temporary or permanent postponement of prosecution “at any point in the judicial process” from when the accused is charged until the adjudication so they can seek mental health treatment.
The appeal panel concluded that the statutory scheme established under Section 1001.36 permitted the defendant to request mental health diversion up until sentencing and the entry of judgment. The panel’s rationale was that the “interference of retroactivity” applies to the defendant’s request to join a mental health diversion program.
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At Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP, we know that the criminal justice system often fails individuals who are suffering from mental health-related issues. That is why our team of dedicated legal professionals is committed to using our extensive resources to provide clients throughout the greater Los Angeles area with top-notch legal representation. Our firm is familiar with the highly complex and specialized issues that clients encounter in a wide range of legal matters, and we are prepared to put our skills to work for you today.
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