Marion County Mental Health Court
110 NW 1st Avenue
Ocala, FL 34475
Regina Lewis, Court Assistant
What is the Marion County Mental Health Court?
The Marion County Mental Health Court [MCMHC] is a special part of the Marion County Court. It is a Court-supervised program for those arrested in Marion County who has a mental illness, who need treatment and other services, and who choose to participate in the MCMHC instead of having their case precede through the regular court process. If you agree to participate in the MCMHC, you will have a four week trial period during which you can choose to not continue with MCMHC.
Our mission is to divert non-violent defendants with mental illness from the Marion County Jail and active criminal prosecution in the Marion County Court to appropriate community based treatment and support services to best protect public safety, reduce recidivism and help those defendants to build successful lives.
The priority of the Marion County Mental Health Court (MCMHC) is public safety. In that regard, the MCMHC seeks to address the mental health issues that often result in certain defendants being repeatedly taken to the Marion County Jail. The MCMHC offers certain defendants the chance to be diverted from the jail while those defendants are connected to therapeutic and other community services.
Public safety is the highest priority. A defendant must have either a public or private attorney representing the defendant before the defendant will be considered for acceptance or placement into the MCMHC and that attorney has the primary responsibility of making certain that all of the defendant\’s legal rights are respected. The Judge is in charge of the MCMHC including all related supervision activities. To participate in the MCMHC, a defendant must have a qualifying mental illness which mental illness was a factor in the defendant becoming involved with Marion County’s criminal justice system. Once a defendant is accepted into the MCMHC pursuant to the A Primary Referral Process set forth in this Manual or is placed by the Court into the MCMHC pursuant to the Alternative Referral Process set forth in this Manual, then that defendant\’s pending case in the Marion County Court is considered to be in diversion and active criminal prosecution in that case is suspended pending the defendant either being graduated or otherwise discharged from the MCMHC. If the defendant is graduated, then the defendant\’s case is dismissed. If the defendant is otherwise discharged, then the defendant\’s case reverts to being an active criminal prosecution on the regular docket of the Marion County Court.
Who is Eligible?
A defendant can only be accepted into the MCMHC as follows [generally stated]:
Must have been arrested for, or charged with, a misdemeanor alleged to have been committed in Marion County.
Must be represented by an attorney.
Must meet residency requirement [generally 90 days in Marion County prior to application.
Must have ability to comprehend and conform to MCMHC program.
FOR PRIMARY REFERRAL
Must meet Criminal Justice Eligibility Criteria (no pending DUI or felony charge and not a past sex or violent offender ).
Must meet Mental Health Eligibility Criteria (have persistent Axis I diagnosis; can have co-occurring diagnosis).
Must consent to MCMHC goals and practices.
Must waive speedy trial.
Must have been adjudged incompetent to proceed in pending misdemeanor case.
The Marion County Mental Health Court is a collaborative effort of:
Marion County Court
Office of the Public Defender
Office of the State Attorney
NAMI of Marion County
Marion County Sheriff\’s Office
Marion County Clerk\’s Office
Helpful Links are located below:
Marion County Mental Health Court Policies Manual