California "warehouses" mentally ill criminal defendants in jails without treatment for months, often in defiance of judicial orders, five inmates and their families claim in court.
This denies them speedy trials, prevents them from gaining mental competency so they can stand trial, and the state lets them "languish in jail for months even after the court has ordered them committed for competency restoration," the plaintiffs and the ACLU say in their July 29 complaint in Alameda County Court. "It is often only when a judge threatens to hold the state officials in contempt for failing to obey the commitment order that the defendant is finally admitted to an appropriate treatment facility."
Plaintiff Nancy Leiva says her incompetent son was raped repeatedly in Los Angeles County Jail, where he was held for 8 months after the court ordered him committed to a state hospital. He was arrested on Sept. 9, 2011; found incompetent to stand trial on Dec. 6, 2012 and ordered to be committed to the Porterville Development Center for treatment, but spent the next 8 months in the county jail.
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