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House Bill No. 5475

Public Act No. 06-91

AN ACT CONCERNING RECOMMITMENT OF ESCAPED PERSONS AND CONFINEMENT OF ACQUITTEES FOR EXAMINATION.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 17a-522 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2006):

The name of any person who has escaped from any institution for persons with psychiatric disabilities and has not been returned to such institution within one year thereafter shall be stricken from the records of such institution and such person shall not thereafter be returned to such institution except (1) upon further commitment by some court of competent jurisdiction, or (2) in the case of an acquittee committed to the jurisdiction of the Psychiatric Security Review Board pursuant to section 17a-582, by order of the Psychiatric Security Review Board. Upon such further commitment, the state or local police department shall, on the request of the authorities of any such institution, assist in the rehospitalization of such patient if, in the opinion of such authorities, the patient's condition warrants such assistance. The expense, if any, of such return shall be paid by the patient or [his] the patient's legally liable relatives or, if none, by the state, but the expense provision herein contained shall not be construed to apply against a rehospitalized patient when criminal proceedings are pending against [him] the patient.

Sec. 2. Section 17a-582 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2006):

(a) When any person charged with an offense is found not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect pursuant to section 53a-13, the court shall order such acquittee committed to the custody of the Commissioner of Mental Health and Addiction Services who shall cause such acquittee to be confined, pending an order of the court pursuant to subsection (e) of this section, in any of the state hospitals for psychiatric disabilities or to the custody of the Commissioner of Mental Retardation, for an examination to determine his mental condition.

(b) [Within forty-five days of] Not later than sixty days after the order of commitment pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, the superintendent of such hospital or the Commissioner of Mental Retardation shall cause the acquittee to be examined and file a report of the examination with the court, and shall send a copy thereof to the state's attorney and counsel for the acquittee, setting forth the superintendent's or said commissioner's findings and conclusions as to whether the acquittee is a person who should be discharged.

(c) [Within] Not later than ten days [of] after receipt of such superintendent's or said commissioner's report, either the state's attorney or counsel for the acquittee may file notice of intent to perform a separate examination of the acquittee. An examination conducted on behalf of the acquittee may be performed by a psychiatrist or psychologist chosen by the acquittee and shall be performed at the acquittee's expense unless [he] the acquittee is indigent. If the acquittee is indigent, the court shall provide [him] the acquittee with the services of a psychiatrist or psychologist to perform the examination at the expense of the state. The superintendent or said commissioner who conducted the initial examination shall, [within] not later than five days [of] after a request of any party conducting a separate examination pursuant to this subsection, release to such party all records and reports compiled in the initial examination of the acquittee. Any separate examination report shall be filed with the court [within] not later than thirty days [of] after the filing with the court of the initial examination report by the superintendent or said commissioner.

(d) The court shall commence a hearing [within] not later than fifteen days [of] after its receipt of any separate examination report or if no notice of intent to perform a separate examination has been filed under subsection (c) of this section, [within] not later than twenty-five days [of] after the filing of such initial examination report.

(e) At the hearing, the court shall make a finding as to the mental condition of the acquittee and, considering that its primary concern is the protection of society, make one of the following orders:

(1) If the court finds that the acquittee is a person who should be confined or conditionally released, the court shall order the acquittee committed to the jurisdiction of the board and either confined in a hospital for psychiatric disabilities or placed with the Commissioner of Mental Retardation, for custody, care and treatment pending a hearing before the board pursuant to section 17a-583; provided (A) the court shall fix a maximum term of commitment, not to exceed the maximum sentence that could have been imposed if the acquittee had been convicted of the offense, and (B) if there is reason to believe that the acquittee is a person who should be conditionally released, the court shall include in the order a recommendation to the board that the acquittee be considered for conditional release pursuant to subdivision (2) of section 17a-584; or

(2) If the court finds that the acquittee is a person who should be discharged, the court shall order the acquittee discharged from custody.

(f) At the hearing before the court, the acquittee shall have the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that [he] the acquittee is a person who should be discharged.

(g) An order of the court pursuant to subsection (e) of this section may be appealed by the acquittee or the state's attorney to the Appellate Court. The court shall so notify the acquittee.

(h) During any term of commitment to the board, the acquittee shall remain under the jurisdiction of the board until discharged by the court pursuant to section 17a-593. Except as provided in subsection (c) of said section, the acquittee shall be immediately discharged at the expiration of the maximum term of commitment.

(i) On committing an acquittee to the jurisdiction of the board, the court shall advise the acquittee of the right to a hearing before the board in accordance with section 17a-583.

Approved May 30, 2006