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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Ind. Courts - "Courts could choose mental health experts under Senate bill"

Carley Campbell reports in $$ TheStatehouseFile:

INDIANAPOLIS- A bill that would eliminate the need for a psychiatrist in court cases dealing with insanity passed a Senate committee Wednesday.

Senate Bill 88, authored by Sen. Ron Alting, R-Lafayette, would amend part of a current statute that requires psychiatrists to determine insanity in criminal cases. The new bill would instead allow Indiana courts to choose two or three psychiatrists, psychologists, or physicians for that purpose, rather than forcing the use of at least one psychiatrist.

This bill would not apply to cases involving murder, or those facing sentences of life without parole or the death penalty.

Dr. Steven Ross, a member of the Indiana State Board of Psychology, and a psychiatrist in Fort Wayne, testified in favor of the bill. He said current statute puts a strain on both criminal courts and psychiatrists. He said that currently 50 out of Indiana’s 92 counties don’t have psychiatrists available for cases, and that the ones that do face long waiting lists. * * *

Henry County Circuit Court Judge Mary Willis said the need for a psychiatrist is a resource issue. She said that judges’ concerns come from having to preside over serious mental trials, and sometimes not so serious mental trials, both of which have the issue of becoming insanity cases.

“We have to go to our council to ask for money because sometimes our psychiatrist exams are triple the cost of our psychologist exams,” said Willis.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 30, 2014 09:56 AM
Posted to Indiana Courts