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23 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
A defendant's capacity to function meaningfully and knowingly in a legal proceeding.

Ex. Andrea Yates, did she understand the nature of her chages and their possible consequences?
3 Characteristics of Conduct Disorder
1. Non-aggressive conduct that causes property damage or loss

2. Aggressive conduct

3. Deceitfulness (lies without reason)
Legal discovery
Procedure in which the attorney for one side (prosection or defense) seeks to become aware of the materials being used by the other side to form its case.

Ex. divorce petition
Three reasons why competence is such an important doctrine in the American legal system
1. Competent defendants must be able to understand charges against them so they can participate in legal proceedings and make it more likely that they will arrive at accurate and just results.

2. Punishment of convicted defendants is morally acceptable only if they understand the reasons why they're being punished.

3. The perceived fairness and dignity of our adversary system of justice requires participation by defendants who have the capacity to defend themselves against the charges of the state.
Knowingly: defendant understands he is waving his constitutional rights by pleading guilty.

Intelligently: understands charges and possible penalties.

Voluntarily: represents a considered choice between constitutionally permissable alternatives.
Competence to stand trial and competence to plead guilty
Competence to stand trial: to be able to consult with one's attorney and have a reasonable degree of rational understanding, as well as a rational and factual understanding of the proceedings against one.

Competence to plead guilty: more exacting because a defendant must not only understand the proceedings, but also the possible consequences.
Adjudicative competence and its 2 components:
- foundational competence
- decisional competence
The set of abilities necessary for a criminal defendant to understand the proceedings in which he is participating and to make rational decisions about the alternative courses of action that are available.

Foundational: does the defendant have the capacity to assist counsel?
Decisional: understand the info relevant to making decisions, think rationally about them.
Jamie Sullivan
Committed arson and homicide. Was he competent? (He was metally retarded.) He was found competent and sentenced to life in prison.
Raising the competency issue
It can be raised at any point in the criminal process by the prosecutor, defense attorney, or the presiding judge.
Competency Screening Test
Used to objectively score a subjective decision. 22 item sentence completion task designed as an initial screening test for incompetence. Each response scored as a 2 (competent), 1 (questionable), or 0 (incompetent). Generally a score under 20 suggests incompetence.
Interdisciplinary Fitness Interview (IFI)
Semistructured interview that evaluates a defendant's abilities in specific legal areas (5 items). It also assesses 11 categories of psychopathological symptoms.
Georgia Court Competency Test (GCCT)
21 questions, highly reliable, tests 3 dimensions - general knowledge, courtroom layout, and specific legal knowledge.
Charles Sell
He was a dentist who was hospitalized for treatment to restore his competence to proceed to trial (fraud and attempted murder). They wanted him to take antipsychotic meds but he did not want to. Is it a violation of a defendant's rights to be forcibly medicated in order to become competent to proceed to trial?

The lower court ruled that the benefits outweighed the risks but Sell appealed and the case was granted certiorari. The court then outlined the conditions in which the govt this situation is allowed to happen.
Rationale for Insanity Defense
To be a criminal offense, an act not only must be illegal but also be accompanied by necessary mens rea (guilty mind).
McNaughton Rule
A defendant may be deemed insane by the court if, as a result of a "disease of the mind," he 1) did not know what he was doing, or 2) did not know that what he was doing was wrong.
Why is it described as an affirmative defense to criminal behavior?
Because, if pleading insanity, defendants have the duty to present evidence that would disprove the presumption of criminal responsiblity in their case.
Brawner Rule - Moral Penal Code
Allows judges and juries to consider whether mentally ill defendants have the capacity to understand the nature of their acts or to behave in a lawful way.
Insanity Defense Reform Act (1984)
Intent: to eliminate the "volitional" prong and retain the "cognitive" prong.

Effect: It changed the insanity defense by prohibiting experts from giving ultimate opinions about insanity and placing on the defendant the burden to prove insanity.
Empirical reseach relevant to the insanity defense
Can the typical juror comprehend the legal language of definitions of insanity, and apply them as intended by the courts?
Three general conditions under which jurors are likely to find a defendant not guilty by reason of insanity
1. They believe the defendant is seriously mentally ill.

2. They hear an expert testimony.

3. They find no logical or evil motive.
Trials where insanity plea failed and succeeded
Failed: Jeffrey Dahmer, Andrea Yates

Succeeded: Lorena Bobbit (temporary insanity)
Three claims the defense counsel presented for John Hinkley, Jr. who attempted to assassinate Pres Reagan
1. Hinkley's actions reflected his pathological pobsession with the movie "Taxi Driver." He identified with the hero and wanted to reenact the shootout.

2. The movie script was the planning force ("a mind that is so influenced by the outside world is a mind out of control and beyond responsibility")

3. A CAT scan was shown to support the defense's contention that the was schizophrenic.
How often is the plea used? How often is it successful?
Plea is used about 1 out of every 200 cases. It is successful about 2% of the time.