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Report: Untrained workers decide defendant competence in DC

February 26, 2018

WASHINGTON (AP) — The D.C. Council will hear Monday from authors of a report that says untrained professionals are deciding if defendants in Washington are competent to stand trial.

The Washington Post reports the oversight hearing comes after the release of a 191-page report by nonprofit Council for Court Excellence that says D.C.‘s Department of Behavioral Health didn’t meet basic standards for evaluating defendants’ mental fitness. The report analyzed how the agency handles suspects who may be mentally ill and found that some evaluators didn’t understand legal system basics, among other discoveries.

Department of Behavioral Health Director Tanya Royster has acknowledged room for improvement at the agency, but says concerns about her leadership are based on “hearsay and innuendo.”

Royster will also speak at the hearing.

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Information from: The Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com

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