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- Alaska Statutes.
- Title 12. Code of Criminal Procedure
- Chapter 47. Insanity and Competency to Stand Trial
- Section 100. Incompetency to Proceed.
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. Commitment On Finding of Incompetency.
AS 12.47.100. Incompetency to Proceed.
- (a) A defendant who, as a result of mental disease or defect, is incompetent because the defendant is unable to understand
the proceedings against the defendant or to assist in the defendant's own defense may not be tried, convicted, or
sentenced for the commission of a crime so long as the incompetency exists.
- (b) If, before imposition of sentence, the prosecuting attorney or the attorney for the defendant has reasonable cause to
believe that the defendant is presently suffering from a mental disease or defect that causes the defendant to be
unable to understand the proceedings or to assist in the person's own defense, the attorney may file a motion for a
judicial determination of the competency of the defendant. Upon that motion, or upon its own motion, the court shall
have the defendant examined by at least one qualified psychiatrist or psychologist, who shall report to the court
concerning the competency of the defendant. For the purpose of the examination, the court may order the defendant
committed for a reasonable period to a suitable hospital or other facility designated by the court. If the report of
the psychiatrist or psychologist indicates that the defendant is incompetent, the court shall hold a hearing, upon due
notice, at which evidence as to the competency of the defendant may be submitted, including that of the reporting
psychiatrist or psychologist, and make appropriate findings. Before the hearing, the court shall, upon request of the
prosecuting attorney, order the defendant to submit to an additional evaluation by a psychiatrist or psychologist
designated by the prosecuting attorney.
- (c) A defendant is presumed to be competent. The party raising the issue of competency bears the burden of proving the
defendant is incompetent by a preponderance of the evidence. When the court raises the issue of competency, the burden
of proving the defendant is incompetent shall be on the party who elects to advocate for a finding of incompetency. The
court shall then apply the preponderance of the evidence standard to determine whether the defendant is competent.
- (d) A statement made by the defendant in the course of an examination into the person's competency under this section,
whether the examination is with or without the consent of the defendant, may not be admitted in evidence against the
defendant on the issue of guilt in a criminal proceeding unless the defendant later relies on a defense under AS 12.47.010
or 12.47.020. A finding by the judge that the
defendant is competent to stand trial in no way prejudices the defendant in a defense based on insanity; the finding
may not be introduced in evidence on that issue or otherwise be brought to the notice of the jury.
- (e) In determining whether a person has sufficient intellectual functioning to adapt or cope with the ordinary demands of
life, the court shall consider whether the person has obtained a driver's license, is able to maintain employment, or
is competent to testify as a witness under the Alaska Rules of Evidence.
- (f) In determining if the defendant is unable to understand the proceedings against the defendant, the court shall
consider, among other factors considered relevant by the court, whether the defendant understands that the defendant
has been charged with a criminal offense and that penalties can be imposed; whether the defendant understands what
criminal conduct is being alleged; whether the defendant understands the roles of the judge, jury, prosecutor, and
defense counsel; whether the defendant understands that the defendant will be expected to tell defense counsel the
circumstances, to the best of the defendant's ability, surrounding the defendant's activities at the time of the
alleged criminal conduct; and whether the defendant can distinguish between a guilty and not guilty plea.
- (g) In determining if the defendant is unable to assist in the defendant's own defense, the court shall consider, among
other factors considered relevant by the court, whether the defendant's mental disease or defect affects the
defendant's ability to recall and relate facts pertaining to the defendant's actions at times relevant to the charges
and whether the defendant can respond coherently to counsel's questions. A defendant is able to assist in the defense
even though the defendant's memory may be impaired, the defendant refuses to accept a course of action that counsel or
the court believes is in the defendant's best interest, or the defendant is unable to suggest a particular strategy or
to choose among alternative defenses.
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