Paul Switzer, found incompetent by Nevada County judge, sent to state facility |

Paul Switzer, found incompetent by Nevada County judge, sent to state facility

Paul Switzer

A Nevada County judge has ordered a man facing assault accusations to a state facility until his competency can be restored.

Paul Switzer, 52, was found incompetent last month by Superior Court Judge Candace Heidelberger, court records state. On Monday the judge ordered Switzer to the California Department of State Hospitals and ruled that officials could give him medication involuntarily.

Switzer was accused in early January of striking a man in the abdomen with an ax. The victim was treated and released from the hospital, authorities have said.

Switzer will remain in a state facility until his competency is restored. When it is, he’ll return to Nevada County and the criminal case against him will resume.

Switzer faces felony charges of assault with a deadly weapon and vandalism.

Attorneys could request Switzer be placed into a conservatorship, if two years pass and competency isn’t restored.

“It’s two full years,” said Keri Klein, the county’s public defender. “It’s not court math.”

Deputy Public Defender Tamara Zuromskis, who represents Switzer, raised a doubt in February about her client’s competence. That declaration halted criminal proceedings against Switzer and led a psychiatrist to write a report on his competency.

After examining the report, Heidelberger on March 22 declared Switzer incompetent to stand trial. The judge then ordered an evaluation to determine if her client should receive medication involuntarily. She also wanted to know which facility should treat Switzer.

On Monday Heidelberger acted on the new reports, ordering Switzer to the state hospital department.

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email or call 530-477-4239.

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