In all matters pending before the Superior Court, all hearings on the question of competency and/or competency review shall be heard by the Competency Docket Judge (currently Chief Judge Penny Haas Freesemann). The Competency Docket Judge shall also supervise the cases of all defendants during the evaluation process on the question of criminal responsibility at the time of the act and, if the defendant is found not guilty by reason of insanity following a trial before the Assigned Judge, on the question of whether that defendant should remain under Court supervision.
Requests for evaluations for competency to stand trial or criminal responsibility at the time of the act shall be made using the forensic referral form and proposed orders provided on this website (with a revision date of April 1, 2019). All forensic referral forms and proposed orders for forensic evaluation shall be submitted only to the Competency Docket Judge and not the Assigned Judge for review and signature.
The forensic referral form shall be accompanied by the following documentation:
Attorneys seeking evaluations for both competency to stand trial and criminal responsibility at the time of the act shall submit proposed orders for both along with the forensic referral form.
The forensic referral form shall specify whether the defendant is in jail, hospitalized or on bond. If a defendant is on bond when an evaluation is ordered, notice will be sent requiring his/her appearance at the next competency docket for the purpose of establishing initial contact with the Georgia Regional evaluators. The defendant will not be sent notices to appear again until directed by the Court.
The Competency Docket shall be called on a monthly basis, and shall be divided into two sections: the COMPETENCY PENDING DOCKET and the COMPETENCY REVIEW DOCKET.
Although cases will be placed on the Competency Docket during the forensic process, they will continue to carry the designation of the Assigned Judge. It is the Assigned Judge who will preside over the guilt/innocence phase of the case.
For information or assistance in a case where a forensic mental evaluation is needed, please contact Judge Freesemann's office at (912) 652-7252.