Exploring L.A.’s Growing Problem with Competency Hearings

Los Angeles County’s lone mental health courthouse is having trouble keeping up with a flood of competency cases.  Inmates arrive at 7:30 a.m. in county buses, are assessed by a psychiatrist, processed through a hearing approaching only 10 minutes long, and still they are so overbooked, hearings are rescheduled 3 or 4 times.  The mysterious surge of competency hearings in recent years is unprecedented.  Not only does it have public defenders and county clerks concerned; it has now drawn the attention of major publications like the Los Angeles Times.  Continue reading