Staff Report TDSnews@civitasmedia.com
January 2, 2014
COLUMBUS — A new rule approved by the Ohio Supreme Court takes effect in the new year requiring Ohio’s courts to notify police about violent offenders with mental illness.
Rule 95 and Form 95 to the Rules of Superintendence for the Courts of Ohio was recommended by a work group of law enforcement and judicial representatives convened by the Supreme Court after a change in Ohio law that requires judges to report to law enforcement when they order a mental-health evaluation or treatment for a person convicted of an offense of violence, or if they approve a conditional release for someone found incompetent to stand trial or not guilty by reason of insanity.
Known as the Deputy Suzanne Hopper Act, the legislation was introduced after the Clark County Sheriff’s deputy was killed in 2011 by a man with a criminal history who had been conditionally released from a mental health institution. Before the legislation, no readily available database existed to alert law enforcement about an offender’s mental health history.
After public comment, the Supreme Court made substantive and non-substantive modifications to Rule 95 and Form 95, including:
Directing courts to “submit” rather than “file” Form 95 with law enforcement so that a signature is not required on the form submitted to law enforcement for entry into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) Supervised Release file maintained by the FBI.
Clarifying that the “point of contact” at the court does not necessarily have supervisory responsibility over the defendant, yet he or she is the designated point of contact for the subjects of Form 95.
Adding clarifications or explanations into the form so that a separate instruction form is not needed.
The rule takes effect January 1, 2014, and the complete text and form are available online.