Report 2013-103 Recommendation 9 Responses

Report 2013-103: Armed Persons With Mental Illness: Insufficient Outreach From the Department of Justice and Poor Reporting From Superior Courts Limit the Identification of Armed Persons With Mental Illness (Release Date: October 2013)

Recommendation #9 To: Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara

To ensure that it reports all required prohibited persons to Justice, Santa Clara Court's probate division should revise its court policies and practices by December 31, 2013, so that it reports all types of court determinations state law requires. Further, Santa Clara Court's criminal division at its Hall of Justice should follow its new reporting and monitoring procedures to ensure that it reports all required determinations to Justice.

6-Month Agency Response

We have revised our policy as requested. The revised policy will be sent as noted below.

  • Completion Date: April 2014
  • Response Date: April 2014

California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Fully Implemented

The revised policy directs staff to report court ordered commitments to a mental health facility regardless of whether the court order specifically contained language that prohibits an individual from possessing a firearm.

60-Day Agency Response

We have fully implemented procedures in Criminal effective August 2013 and Probate effective December 2013. The procedure will be emailed as it is too long to contain herein.

  • Completion Date: August 2013
  • Response Date: January 2014

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Partially Implemented

Santa Clara Court provided evidence that demonstrated it is reminding its criminal court staff about the revised procedures for reporting to the Department of Justice. However, the revisions to the court's probate procedures appear to direct staff to report court ordered commitments to a mental health facility only when the court order specifically includes a firearm prohibition. This differs from state law, which does not require the court order to specifically include a firearm prohibition in every instance. Specifically, when a court has determined that a person is a danger to others as a result of mental illness, that finding itself results in a firearm prohibition pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Code 8103(a). Although the court has assured us that it intends to report all of these cases regardless of the specific language of the order, we believe clarifying the court's new procedures would help make the expectation to report in all cases clear to staff.

  • Auditee did not address all aspects of the recommendation

All Recommendations in 2013-103

Agency responses received are posted verbatim.