Court orders California to move severely disabled defendants out of jail, into treatment within 28 days


The decision by the state court, handed down late Tuesday afternoon, largely upheld a ruling by an Alameda County judge who oversaw hearings in a suit filed by the ACLU Foundations of Northern California and Southern California and family members of disabled defendants.

The trial judge phased in the 28-day deadline over 30 months, beginning with a 60-day deadline within 12 months of the court’s order and ending with the final deadline at the end of this year.

A state appeals court has ordered California to move disabled inmates found mentally incompetent to stand trial out of jails and into treatment.

A three-judge panel of the 2nd District Court of Appeal in San Francisco set a deadline of 28 days for the state to move mentally ill and intellectually disabled defendants into hospitals or treatment programs after a court has found them too impaired to stand trial. Those defendants now often spend months in jail, where lawyers say they have died of suicide or suffered abuse while awaiting medical attention.

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