HBA-MPM H.B. 245 76(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 245 By: Gallego Criminal Jurisprudence 2/10/1999 Introduced BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE The United States Supreme Court held that the United States Constitution requires that an inmate sentenced to death be mentally competent to be executed. H.B. 245 prohibits the state from executing a person sentenced to death if the person is mentally incompetent and establishes a procedure to determine the person's level of mental competency. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state officer, department, agency, or institution. SECTION BY SECTION ANALYSIS SECTION 1. Amends Section 5(a), Article 11.071, Code of Criminal Procedure, to include an additional criterion a court may consider for an application for a writ of habeas corpus. Provides that if the applicant is mentally incompetent to be executed as described by Section 2, Article 11.072, at the time a subsequent or untimely initial application is filed, this information may be considered by the court. SECTION 2. Amends Chapter 11, Code of Criminal Procedure, to add Article 11.072, as follows: ARTICLE 11.072. MENTAL INCOMPETENCY; EFFECT ON EXECUTIONS Sec. 1. EXECUTION OF MENTALLY INCOMPETENT PROHIBITED. Prohibits the state from executing a person if it is determined that the person is mentally incompetent to be executed. Sec. 2. MENTALLY INCOMPETENT TO BE EXECUTED. Provides that a person is mentally incompetent to be executed if the person lacks the mental capacity to understand the fact of and reason for the impending execution. Sec. 3. APPLICATION. Provides that an application for relief may be made in an application for writ of habeas corpus filed under Article 11.071. Sec. 4. APPLICATION: CONTENTS. Specifies that an application for relief must identify the proceeding in which the applicant was convicted, identify the date of final judgment, set forth the fact that an execution date has been set if applicable, and clearly set forth alleged facts supporting the assertion of the applicant's mental incompetency. Requires the applicant to attach affidavits, records, or other evidence supporting these allegations, or state why these items are not attached. Requires the applicant to identify previous proceedings where the applicant challenged the applicant's mental capacity in relation to the conviction and sentence in question, including any challenge to the applicant's competency to be executed or stand trial, or sanity at the time of the offense. Provides that arguments and citations of authority must be omitted from the application. Provides that the application must be verified by the oath of some person on the applicant's behalf. Sec. 5. PRELIMINARY SHOWING. (a) Requires the district court or court of criminal appeals, upon receipt of an application for relief under this article, to determine whether there is substantial doubt of the applicant's mental competency to be executed on the basis of the application, attached documents, and responsive pleadings, if any, and if applicable, the presumption of competency under Section 7. (b) Requires the convicting court to receive additional proof on the issue as provided by Section 9, Article 11.071, if the convicting court or court of criminal appeals determines that the applicant has made a substantial showing of mental incompetency. (c) Requires the court of criminal appeals to deny the claim for relief if the court of criminal appeals and the convicting court determine that the applicant has failed to make a preliminary showing of mental incompetency. Sec. 6. EXAMINATION OF APPLICANT; APPOINTMENT OF EXPERTS. Specifies that the applicant, by filing a claim for relief, consents to an examination by one or more mental health experts designated by the convicting court, and waives any claim of privilege with respect and consents to the release of all mental health and medical records maintained by the institutional division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Sec. 7. PREVIOUS ADJUDICATION AS PRESUMPTION OF MENTAL ILLNESS. Provides that a previous adjudication of competency during the applicant's capital murder trial or at any other time creates a presumption of mental competency barring the applicant from obtaining a second hearing regarding competency, unless a prima facie showing of a substantial change in circumstances sufficient to raise a significant question as to the applicant's mental competency is made at the time of filing the subsequent claim for relief. Sec. 8. EFFECT OF FINDING OF MENTAL INCOMPETENCE FOR EXECUTION. Provides that an order setting the applicant's execution date must be withdrawn or stayed if it is determined that the applicant is incompetent to be executed. Prohibits an execution date from being set while the applicant is incompetent. Provides that a determination of incompetency to be executed does not affect the judgment of conviction and sentence. Requires the convicting court to make findings of fact and conclusions of law regarding the applicant's competency and to recommend that a stay of execution be vacated if the applicant regains mental competency. SECTION 3. Effective date: September 1, 1999. SECTION 4. Emergency clause.