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California Penal Code Section 1368

Legal Research Home > California Laws > Penal Code > California Penal Code Section 1368

1368.  (a) If, during the pendency of an action and prior to
judgment, a doubt arises in the mind of the judge as to the mental
competence of the defendant, he or she shall state that doubt in the
record and inquire of the attorney for the defendant whether, in the
opinion of the attorney, the defendant is mentally competent. If the
defendant is not represented by counsel, the court shall appoint
counsel. At the request of the defendant or his or her counsel or
upon its own motion, the court shall recess the proceedings for as
long as may be reasonably necessary to permit counsel to confer with
the defendant and to form an opinion as to the mental competence of
the defendant at that point in time.
   (b) If counsel informs the court that he or she believes the
defendant is or may be mentally incompetent, the court shall order
that the question of the defendant's mental competence is to be
determined in a hearing which is held pursuant to Sections 1368.1 and
1369. If counsel informs the court that he or she believes the
defendant is mentally competent, the court may nevertheless order a
hearing. Any hearing shall be held in the superior court.
   (c) Except as provided in Section 1368.1, when an order for a
hearing into the present mental competence of the defendant has been
issued, all proceedings in the criminal prosecution shall be
suspended until the question of the present mental competence of the
defendant has been determined.
   If a jury has been impaneled and sworn to try the defendant, the
jury shall be discharged only if it appears to the court that undue
hardship to the jurors would result if the jury is retained on call.
   If the defendant is declared mentally incompetent, the jury shall
be discharged.
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Last modified: March 17, 2014