HB2562: Investigation of social history of juvenile; mental health examination for certain offenses.


Offered January 9, 2019
Prefiled January 9, 2019
A BILL to amend and reenact § 16.1-273 of the Code of Virginia, relating to investigation of social history of juvenile; mental health examination for offenses indicating sexual abnormality.
Patron-- Bell, Robert B.

Committee Referral Pending

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:

1. That § 16.1-273 of the Code of Virginia is amended and reenacted as follows:

§ 16.1-273. Court may require investigation of social history and preparation of victim impact statement.

A. When a juvenile and domestic relations district court or circuit court has adjudicated any case involving a child subject to the jurisdiction of the court hereunder, except for a traffic violation, a violation of the game and fish law, or a violation of any city ordinance regulating surfing or establishing curfew violations, the court before final disposition thereof may require an investigation, which (i) shall include a drug screening and (ii) may, and for the purposes of subdivision A 14 or A 17 of § 16.1-278.8 shall, include a social history of the physical, mental, and social conditions, including an assessment of any affiliation with a criminal street gang as defined in § 18.2-46.1, and personality of the child and the facts and circumstances surrounding the violation of law. However, in the case of a juvenile adjudicated delinquent on the basis of an act committed on or after January 1, 2000, which would be a felony if committed by an adult, or a violation under Article 1 (§ 18.2-247 et seq.) or Article 1.1 (§ 18.2-265.1 et seq.) of Chapter 7 of Title 18.2 and such offense would be punishable as a Class 1 or Class 2 misdemeanor if committed by an adult, the court shall order the juvenile to undergo a drug screening. If the drug screening indicates that the juvenile has a substance abuse or dependence problem, an assessment shall be completed by a certified substance abuse counselor as defined in § 54.1-3500 employed by the Department of Juvenile Justice or by a locally operated court services unit or by an individual employed by or currently under contract to such agencies and who is specifically trained to conduct such assessments under the supervision of such counselor. If the juvenile has been adjudicated delinquent of an offense that indicates sexual abnormality, the investigation shall include an evaluation as provided in subsection C.

B. The court also shall, on motion of the attorney for the Commonwealth with the consent of the victim, or may in its discretion, require the preparation of a victim impact statement in accordance with the provisions of § 19.2-299.1 if the court determines that the victim may have suffered significant physical, psychological, or economic injury as a result of the violation of law.

C. In addition to the requirements of subsection A, when a juvenile and domestic relations district court or circuit court has adjudicated any juvenile delinquent of an offense that indicates sexual abnormality, the trial judge may on his own initiative, or shall upon application of the attorney for the Commonwealth, the defendant, or counsel for the defendant or other person acting for the defendant, order that the juvenile be examined by at least one psychiatrist or clinical psychologist who is qualified by specialized training and experience to perform such evaluations. Upon the written recommendation of the person examining the juvenile that an adequate evaluation of the juvenile can only be performed in an inpatient hospital setting, the court shall have the power to send any juvenile to a state mental hospital for not more than 10 days for the purpose of performing an adequate examination. No juvenile sent to a state mental hospital pursuant to this provision shall be held or cared for in any maximum security unit where adults determined to be criminally insane reside; the juvenile shall be kept separate and apart from such adults. However, the Commissioner of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services may place a juvenile who has been certified to the circuit court for trial as an adult pursuant to § 16.1-269.6 or 16.1-270 or who has been convicted as an adult of a felony in the circuit court in a unit appropriate for the care and treatment of persons under a criminal charge when, in his discretion, such placement is necessary to protect the security or safety of other patients, staff, or the public.