This litigation involves defendants who may not be capable of understanding the proceedings or assisting their defense attorney in their defense, due to a mental disorder or developmental disability. Defendants are presumed to be competent at this stage of the proceedings, and a defendant must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that he or she is mentally incompetent.
If the defendant is found competent, the trial stage of the proceedings will go forward. If the defendant is found mentally incompetent due to a mental disorder, the proceedings are suspended until competence is restored. The defendant will be placed in a treatment center for restoration of mental competence. This setting will be either a state mental hospital or the Contra Costa County Conditional Release Program (CONREP). If the defendant is found incompetent due to a developmental disability, he or she will be placed in a care center for the developmentally disabled for treatment designed to restore their competence to stand trial.