Reporting Requirements for Mentally Ill Offenders Signed Into Law
Gov. John R. Kasich signed into law Tuesday a bill that requires judges to report to law enforcement when they order a mental-health evaluation or treatment instead of incarceration for a person convicted of a violent criminal offense, or if they approve a conditional release for an individual found incompetent to stand trial or not guilty by reason of insanity. Law enforcement will then enter that information into the law enforcement database so that responding officers will know that information about the offender.
Sponsored by President Pro Tempore Chris Widener and Sen. Bill Beagle, the idea for Senate Bill 7 resulted from the death of Clark County Sheriff’s Deputy Suzanne Hopper on January 1, 2011.
She was shot and killed after responding to a call about gunfire at a trailer park in Enon. The suspect, Michael Ferryman, was also killed in the incident. After a previous similar standoff with authorities 10 years earlier, Ferryman was found not guilty by reason of insanity, committed to a mental health facility, and conditionally released.
The Ohio Judicial Conference was consulted on the bill and some amendments were made to improve the practical application of the legislation. Ohio courts will begin to implement this new requirement 90 days after the governor’s signature.
The bill passed the Ohio Senate 32-1 on March 20 and the Ohio House of Representatives 92-0 on May 29.