2C:4-5 Psychiatric or Psychological Examination of Defendant With Respect to Fitness to Proceed
a.Whenever there is reason to doubt the defendant’s fitness to proceed, the court may on motion by the prosecutor, the defendant or on its own motion, appoint at least one qualified psychiatrist or licensed psychologist to examine and report upon the mental condition of the defendant. The psychiatrist or licensed psychologist so appointed shall be either:
(1)From a list agreed to by the court, the prosecutor and the defendant; or
(2)Agreed to by the court, prosecutor and defendant.
Alternatively, the court may order examination of a defendant for fitness to proceed by the Department of Human Services. The department shall provide or arrange for examination of the defendant at a jail, prison or psychiatric hospital. However, to ensure that a defendant is not unnecessarily hospitalized for the purpose of the examination, a defendant shall not be admitted to a State psychiatric hospital for an examination regarding his fitness to proceed unless a qualified psychiatrist or licensed psychologist designated by the commissioner determines that hospitalization is clinically necessary to perform the examination. Whenever the qualified psychiatrist or licensed psychologist determines that hospitalization is clinically necessary to perform the examination, the court shall order the defendant to be committed to the custody of the Commissioner of Human Services for placement in a State psychiatric hospital designated for that purpose for a period not exceeding 30 days.
A qualified psychiatrist or licensed psychologist retained by the defendant or by the prosecutor shall, if requested, be permitted to examine a defendant who has been admitted to a State psychiatric hospital.
b.The report of the examination shall include at least the following: (1) a description of the nature of the examination; (2) a diagnosis of the mental condition of the defendant; (3) an opinion as to the defendant’s capacity to understand the proceedings against him and to assist in his own defense. The person or persons conducting the examination may ask questions respecting the crime charged when such questions are necessary to enable formation of an opinion as to a relevant issue, however, the evidentiary character of any inculpatory statement shall be limited expressly to the question of competency and shall not be admissible on the issue of guilt.
c.If the examination cannot be conducted by reason of the unwillingness of the defendant to participate therein, the report shall so state and shall include, if possible, an opinion as to whether such unwillingness of the defendant was the result of mental incompetence. Upon the filing of such a report, the court may permit examination without cooperation, may appoint a different psychiatrist or licensed psychologist, or may commit the defendant for observation for a period not exceeding 30 days except on good cause shown, or exclude or limit testimony by the defense psychiatrist or licensed psychologist.
d.The report of the examination shall be sent by the psychiatrist or licensed psychologist to the court, the prosecutor and counsel for the defendant.
L.1978, c.95; amended 1979, c.178, s.13A; 1997, c.77, s.1; 1998, c.111, s.1.