Rule Proposed for Ohio Courts’ Notifying Police Of Offender Mental Illness

With the passage of Ohio Senate Bill 7 back June “To require that a court report certain information to  local law enforcement agencies for entry into the appropriate National Crime Information Center file when it approves the conditional release of a person found incompetent to stand trial or not guilty by reason of insanity, or orders a person convicted of an offense of violence to receive mental health treatment ,“  the Ohio Supreme Court now has a set of rule proposals specific to allowing consistent reporting to law enforcement about convictions that involve violent mentally ill offenders. The bill became effective last Wednesday, Sept. 4th..

SB 7 was named in honor of Clark County Sheriff’s Deputy Suzanne Hopper on January 1, 2011, who was shot and killed after responding to a gunfire call at a trailer park in which the suspect, Michael Ferryman, was also killed. Hopper was the mother of two. In the ensuing investigation it was learned that after a similar standoff with authorities 10 years earlier, Ferryman had been found not guilty by reason of insanity, committed to a mental health facility, and conditionally released. Proposed Rule and Form 95 to the Court’s  Rules of Superintendence was recommended by a workgroup of representatives from law enforcement and the judicial system convened by the Court to address those provisions.

The text of the proposed rule and the form are available on the Supreme Court’s website.

Written comments will be accepted until October 16 and should be submitted to:

Diana Ramos-Reardon, Manager
Supreme Court of Ohio Domestic Violence Program
65 S. Front St.
Columbus, Ohio 43215

or via e-mail to diana.ramos-reardon@sc.ohio.gov

We might also inject here SB 133, introduced back in May by Senators Eric Kearney & Edna Brown and still pending, seeks requiring “notice provided to prosecuting attorneys by the Parole Board of the time and place of full board hearings or the pendency of a pardon, commutation, or parole, be provided by certified mail, return receipt requested.” Current law requires prosecuting attorneys be notified of parole board hearings, but it does not stipulate the manner  which has on occasion has resulted in their not received notices sent to them. The added  requirement would ensure that the prosecuting attorney receive the notice.