The mental health evaluation for Stauch, which was requested in early December 2021, is still not ready from the Colorado State Hospital.
The date of Stauch’s next hearing is a mystery, after the judge, defense, and prosecution agreed to postpone moving forward until the mental health evaluation is complete.
“Every accused has the constitutional right to participate in their defense and if there is a thought that they might be incompetent, they’re going to be unable to participate in that defense… They’re going to be unable to have those meaningful conversations that clients and defense attorneys have,” said Shawn Conti, a Trial Lawyer in Pueblo, explaining why the results of the mental health evaluation must be returned before the case can go any further.
If the report is not ready in four weeks, the judge stated he would ask the doctor in charge why the report is not ready.
The State Hospital sent KOAA a statement regarding staffing shortages, saying:
The delays are due to bed shortages for inpatient competency restoration and forensic evaluations that need to be completed in an inpatient setting. The Department is largely in compliance with timeframes for evaluations that can be completed in jail or outpatient. Competency evaluations are performed by Court Services, which is a division of the Office of Behavioral Health, this is a separate entity from CMHIP.
As of July 28, the hospital said 36 people were in need of mental condition or sanity evaluations.
Stauch’s trial was originally slated to begin in March 2021.
This story was originally published July 28 by KOAA in Colorado Springs, an E.W. Scripps Company.