Photo Of Kyle B. Sawyer
Photo Of Kyle B. Sawyer

Charged With A Crime? It Doesn’t Mean You’re Guilty.

Pueblo Sanity Evaluation Wait-Times are Insane

On Behalf of | Apr 12, 2012 | Insanity |

Denver Insanity Attorney

The Colorado insanity statutes, found in C.R.S. 16-8-101 through 122, do not specify the amount of time the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) has to complete court ordered mental health evaluations. As a result, persons charged in Larimer, Jefferson, Weld and Adams County with crimes like Sexual Assault and Exploitation of a Child have had to wait extensively for an evaluation. Soon, the terms of a recently settled law suit will provide CDHS with the needed incentive to speed up the process.

Mental Competency Evaluation Issues in Jefferson County

After July 1, 2012, Arapahoe, Boulder, Douglas and Pueblo counties will operate under new mandatory deadlines for completing mental health evaluations in criminal cases like Theft, Robbery, Assaults and Domestic Violence. Denver County will follow with a compliance deadline of January 1, 2013. Under certain circumstances in criminal cases, and where mental competency is raised as an issue, courts are required to have defendants evaluated before a case is permitted to proceed. Currently defendants are waiting up to six months (many in jail), prior to being evaluated.

Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo

It is CDHS’s job to make sure the evaluations are completed and they do this by sending defendants to the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo (CMHIP). However, due to budget constraints and lack of beds, wait times often exceed the sentences that would have been imposed if the person was convicted for the crime.

Arapahoe County Criminal Defense Lawyer – Your Freedom May Be in Jeopardy

It is important to emphasize that while waiting, people are being deprived of their liberty for months on end. If you are asking yourself why this is an issue, you only need to put yourself in the position of a person being wrongfully accused. If you were to be charged and then raise the issue of sanity, you may find yourself waiting in a county jail for an extended period of time. In the future, and under the terms of the settled lawsuit, CDHS will have 24 days to complete evaluations on people not incarcerated, and 30 days for those that are. This important change will provide citizens accused of a crime to either start receiving the mental health treatment they need, or give them their day in court much sooner.

An insanity defense is not a free pass to criminal activity. But, if an insanity plea can be supported, it may be the means to ensure the mental health treatment and legal defense a person needs. If someone you care about has been accused of a crime, and you are concerned about their mental state, you need to call the attorneys at O’Malley Law Office, P.C. We understand the complex details of how to protect your loved one’s future in a mental health criminal case. Remember, be smart, exercise your right to remain silent, and call us at (303) 731-0719. Together we can protect your future.