Competency/ Insanity


A defendant is presumed to be competent to stand trial. If, after a hearing, the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that, because of the defendant's present mental condition, the defendant is incapable of understanding the nature and objective of the proceedings against the defendant or of assisting in the defendant's defense, the court shall find the defendant incompetent to stand trial. A psychologist designated by the director of developmental disabilities pursuant to that section to conduct that separate mental retardation evaluation. There is a procedure outline for competence restoration and procedure for competency determination and hearings. Ohio Rev. Code §§ 2945.37 through 2945.39

The court may require mental condition evaluations on people who violate domestic protection orders. Ohio Rev. Code § 2919.71


The court shall hold a hearing to determine whether the person found not guilty by reason of insanity is a mentally ill person subject to court order or a mentally retarded person subject to institutionalization by court order within ten court days after the finding of not guilty by reason of insanity. If, at the hearing, the court determines by clear and convincing evidence that the person requires treatment for mental retardation, it shall commit the person to a facility operated by the department of developmental disabilities or another facility, as appropriate.  Ohio Rev. Code § 2945.40

Special Rules

If an offender is charged with a criminal offense and the court has reason to believe that at the time of committing that offense, the offender had a mental illness or was a person with intellectual disability and that the mental illness or status as a person with intellectual disability was a factor leading to the offender's criminal behavior, the court may accept, prior to the entry of a guilty plea, the offender's request for intervention in lieu of conviction; there must be a hearing to determine if it applies. "Person with intellectual disability" means a person having significantly subaverage general intellectual functioning existing concurrently with deficiencies in adaptive behavior, manifested during the developmental period.Ohio Rev. Code § 2951.041

Notification and Victim's Services: If a person is charged in a complaint, indictment, or information with any crime or specified delinquent act or with any other violation of law, and if the case involves a victim that the prosecutor in the case knows is a "mentally retarded" person or developmentally disabled, the prosecutor in the case must send written notice of the charges to the department of developmental disabilities. Ohio Rev. Code § 2930.061

Witnesses: In cases of a sex offense or an offense of violence and in which an alleged victim of the violation or offense was a mentally retarded or developmentally disabled person, the judge of the court in which the prosecution is being conducted, upon motion of an attorney for the prosecution, shall order that the testimony of the "mentally retarded" or developmentally disabled victim be taken by deposition. The prosecution also may request that the deposition be videotaped. Ohio Rev. Code § 2945.482

Witnesses:  the prosecutor may admit videotaped preliminary hearing testimony of the developmentally disabled victim as evidence at the trial, in lieu of the developmentally disabled victim appearing as a witness and testifying at trial, if certain conditions are met and defendant had an opportunity to cross examine. Ohio Rev. Code § 2945.491


Higher sentence imposed if the victim was disabled (misdemeanor hate crime). Ohio Rev. Code § 2929.22

Death Penalty