Proposed Rules Change Would Allow For Better Reporting Of Mentally Ill Offenders

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The Supreme Court of Ohio is proposing a change to rules governing Ohio’s courts to allow for consistent reporting to law enforcement about convictions that involve violent mentally ill offenders.

The proposal to add Rule 95 and Form 95 to the Rules of Superintendence for the Courts of Ohio was recommended by a workgroup of representatives from law enforcement and the judicial system convened by the court to address provisions in Ohio laws that took effect September 4. The law requires judges to report to law enforcement when they order a mental-health evaluation or treatment for a person convicted of an offense of violence, or if they approve a conditional release for someone found incompetent to stand trial or not guilty by reason of insanity.

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

Stephanie Beougher is a reporter for Court News Ohio.