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Georgia State Code
Title      15
Chapter      11  
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Title 15, Chapter 11, Section 152 (15-11-152)

(a) If at any time after the filing of a petition alleging delinquency or unruliness the court has reason to believe that the child named in the petition may not be mentally competent, the court on its own motion or on the motion of the attorney representing the child, any guardian ad litem for the child, or the attorney representing the state may stay all delinquency or unruly conduct proceedings relating to that petition and order an evaluation of the child's mental condition. All time limits under Article 1 of this chapter for adjudication and disposition of that petition are tolled during the evaluation, adjudication, and disposition phases of the mental competency proceeding.

(b) An evaluation ordered under subsection (a) of this Code section shall be conducted by a qualified examiner who shall consider whether the child is mentally competent. If the basis for questioning the child's mental competency concerns a problem with intellectual functioning, mental retardation, or a learning disability, the qualified examiner must be a licensed psychologist. The probation officers of juvenile court shall provide the qualified examiner with any law enforcement or court records necessary for understanding the petition alleging delinquency or unruliness. The attorney for the child may provide the qualified examiner with any records from any other available sources that are deemed necessary for the mental competency evaluation.

(c) A qualified examiner who conducts an evaluation under subsection (b) of this Code section shall submit a written report to the court, within 30 days from receipt of the court order requiring the evaluation, which report shall contain the following:

(1) The reason for the evaluation;

(2) The evaluation procedures used, including any psychometric instruments administered, any records reviewed, and the identity of any persons interviewed;

(3) Any available pertinent background information;

(4) The results of a mental status exam, including the diagnosis and description of any psychiatric symptoms, cognitive deficiency, or both;

(5) A description of abilities and deficits in the following mental competency functions:

(A) The ability to understand and appreciate the nature and object of the proceedings;

(B) The ability to comprehend his or her situation in relation to the proceedings; and

(C) The ability to render assistance to the defense attorney in the preparation of his or her case;

(6) An opinion regarding the potential significance of the child's mental competency, strengths, and deficits; and

(7) An opinion regarding whether or not the child should be considered mentally competent.

(d) If, in the opinion of the qualified examiner, the child should not be considered mentally competent, the evaluation report shall also include the following:

(1) A diagnosis made as to whether there is a substantial probability that the child will attain mental competency to participate in adjudication, a disposition hearing, and a transfer hearing in the foreseeable future;

(2) Recommendations for the general level and type of remediation necessary for significant deficits; and

(3) Recommendations for modifications of court procedure which may help compensate for mental competency weaknesses.

(e) The court in its discretion may grant the qualified examiner an extension in filing the evaluation report.

(f) Copies of the written evaluation report shall be provided by the court to the attorney representing the child, the attorney representing the state, the district attorney or a member of his or her staff, and any guardian ad litem for the child no later than five working days after receipt of the report by the court.

(g) Upon a showing of good cause by any party or upon the court's own motion, the court may order additional examinations by other qualified examiners. In no event shall more than one examination be conducted by a qualified examiner employed by the Department of Human Resources.

(h) No statement made by a child or information obtained in the course of an evaluation, hearing, or other proceeding provided for in this Code section, whether the evaluation is with or without the consent of the child, shall be admitted into evidence against the child in any future proceeding in the state's case-in-chief.

Sunday May 24 01:07 EDT

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