California has given a wide swath of criminals a “get out of jail free card” through what it calls a “pretrial diversion”. This consists of a judge determining that a defendant suffers a mental disorder based solely on the word of a “qualified mental health expert” provided by the defense, and that said mental disorder played a significant roll, followed by a not-more-than-two-year treatment, after the defendant must be let off scot-free. The law reads, in part, that pretrial diversion may be granted if:
“The court is satisfied that the defendant suffers from a mental disorder as identified in the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, including, but not limited to, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, or post-traumatic stress disorder, but excluding antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, and pedophilia. Evidence of the defendant’s mental disorder shall be provided by the defense and shall include a recent diagnosis by a qualified mental health expert. In opining that a defendant suffers from a qualifying disorder, the qualified mental health expert may rely on an examination of the defendant, the defendant’s medical records, arrest reports, or any other relevant evidence.”
It should be noted that only three mental disorders (i.e. ” antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, and pedophilia”) are excluded, and all other mental disorders could be deemed applicable.
While a court ruling a person is not guilty by mental disease or defect is established in law and there are reasonable arguments for the need of improvements. But this skips the trial and even the input of the prosecution or a neutral psychiatric evaluation, and allows the defendant to walk free.
The treatment could be largely out of the preview of the courts and mandates that any and all defendants that complete the “treatment” “satisfactorily” to walk scot-free with a dismissal of the charges, the law reading, in part:
“The treatment may be procured using private or public funds, and a referral may be made to a county mental health agency, existing collaborative courts, or assisted outpatient treatment only if that entity has agreed to accept responsibility for the treatment of the defendant, and mental health services are provided only to the extent that resources are available and the defendant is eligible for those services.
“If the defendant has performed satisfactorily in diversion, at the end of the period of diversion, the court shall dismiss the defendant’s criminal charges that were the subject of the criminal proceedings at the time of the initial diversion.”
So, get a “mental health expert” who can convince a judge that you have a mental disorder, and you can avoid even a trial and get all charges dismissed. Of course, this will likely benefit some far, far more than others.
California is at war with its own people.
The full chaptered bill (AB 1810) can be read below: