Court to assess rape suspect’s mental health

Sharwian Bobian faces competency hearing

Sharwian Bobian, a homeless man who is accused of raping a woman in San Martin earlier this year, faced doubts about his competence to stand trial at a March 14 hearing. As a result, further criminal proceedings in the case against him have been suspended until mental health professionals can determine he is competent, according to authorities.

The proceedings were temporarily halted in accordance with state Penal Code 1368, which states that if a defendant’s attorney requests a mental competency hearing, “the court shall recess the proceedings for as long as may be reasonably necessary to permit counsel to confer with the defendant and to form an opinion as to the mental competence of the defendant at that point in time.”

At the March 14 hearing at the Morgan Hill courthouse, the judge granted a mental competency hearing based on PC1368. The next hearing is scheduled for 9am March 21 at the Hall of Justice in San Jose. At that hearing, the court will likely appoint a doctor to evaluate Bobian and determine if he is competent to stand trial, according to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office. Bobian remains in custody at Santa Clara County Jail.

Sharwian Bobian

Bobian, 43, is charged with one count of rape in relation to a Jan. 2 incident inside his makeshift shelter on Llagas Avenue in San Martin. During that incident, he is accused of raping a nearby female resident who had been supplying him with food and other assistance in the preceding months.

Santa Clara County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Bobian the next day, but the DAs office initially declined to file charges against him. He was thus released two days later—about 24 hours into a 72-hour medical hold, during which he was evaluated by medical staff at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center.

Bobian’s paperwork from his Jan. 4 release from Valley Medical states he was “psychotic and (he) allegedly tried to rape someone.” The paperwork, titled an “Involuntary Patient Advisement,” also indicated the hospital staff who evaluated him thought he might harm someone.

In early February, the DA’s office reversed course and filed a charge of rape against Bobian. A warrant was issued for his arrest. He was arrested Feb. 8 in San Jose, and has remained in custody since then.

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