Assignment: Competency To Stand Trial

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Assignment: Competency To Stand Trial

Assignment: Competency To Stand Trial


Assignment: Competency To Stand Trial

Competency to Stand Trial is the assessment of an individual’s present state of mind—the time at which he or she must stand trial. Depending on the jurisdiction, evaluation by a forensic psychologist or other qualified professional is necessary to determine if a person is competent to stand trial. It is essential to know what a competency evaluation entails, because this information is directly relevant to the psycholegal assessment questions on the comprehensive exam.

In a minimum of 300 words, respond to the following:

  • Identify and discuss the issues raised in a competency hearing.
  • Clarify which types of disorders can render an offender not competent to stand trial.
  • Identify and describe at least three assessment instruments that are specifically used to determine an individual’s competency.

Discuss at least three other psychological tests that would be used as part of a competency evaluation, such as tests to assess personality, intellect, and/or malingering. State why these other tests are needed as part of an overall competency evaluation.

Your responses should rely upon at least three scholarly resources from the professional literature that are cited in APA format. The literature may include the Argosy University online library resources; relevant textbooks; peer-reviewed journal articles; and websites created by professional organizations, agencies, or institutions (.edu and .gov).

(a) Definitions. As used in this section:

(1) “Attorney for the state” means the attorney general, an authorized assistant attorney general, or such other person as may be authorized by law to act as a representative of the state in a criminal proceeding;

(2) “Competent” or “competency” means mental ability to stand trial. A person is mentally competent to stand trial if he or she is able to understand the character and consequences of the proceedings against him or her and is able properly to assist in his or her defense;

(3) “Department” means the state department of behavioral healthcare, developmental disabilities and hospitals.

(4) “Director” means the director of the state department of behavioral healthcare, developmental disabilities and hospitals;

(5) “Incompetent” or “incompetency” means mentally incompetent to stand trial. A person is mentally incompetent to stand trial if he or she is unable to understand the character and consequences of the proceedings against him or her or is unable properly to assist in his or her defense;

(b) Presumption of competency. A defendant is presumed competent. The burden of proving that the defendant is not competent shall be by a preponderance of the evidence, and the burden of going forward with the evidence shall be on the party raising the issue. The burden of going forward shall be on the state if the court raises the issue.

(c) Request for examination. If at any time during a criminal proceeding, prior to the imposition of sentence, it appears that the defendant is not competent, counsel for the defendant or the state, or the court, on its own motion, may request an examination to determine the defendant’s competency.

(d) Examination of defendant.

(1) If the court finds that the request for examination is justified, the court shall order an examination of the defendant. The scope of the examination shall be limited to the question of whether the defendant is competent.

(2) The examination shall take place on an outpatient basis if the defendant is to be released on bail or recognizance. If the defendant is ordered confined at the adult correctional institutions, the examination shall take place at that facility. The department shall appoint or designate the physician(s) who will conduct the examinations.

(3) If the defendant is ordered confined to the adult correctional institutions, the physician shall complete the examination within five (5) days. If the physician determines that the defendant is incompetent to stand trial, the defendant shall be immediately transferred to the institute of mental health’s forensic unit pending the hearing provided for in subsection (g).

(e) Bail or recognizance during examination. (1) A defendant for whom a competency examination has been ordered shall be entitled to release on bail or recognizance to the same extent and on the same terms and conditions as if the issue of competency had not been raised.

(2) The court may order the defendant to appear at a designated time and place for outpatient examination, and such an appearance may be made a condition of pretrial release.

(f) Reports of examining physicians. Each examining physician shall prepare a report, in writing, in which he or she shall state his or her findings concerning the defendant’s competency together with the medical and other data upon which his or her findings are based. The report shall be filed with the court within ten (10) business days if the defendant was ordered confined at the adult correctional institutions and as soon as practicable if the defendant was released on bail or recognizance and copies given to the attorney for the state and to the defendant or his or her counsel.

(g) Hearing. Upon receipt of the report and appropriate notice to the parties, the court shall hold a hearing unless the report concludes that the defendant is competent and the defendant and the attorney for the state in open court state their assent to the findings on the record. At the hearing, the report shall be introduced, other evidence bearing on the defendant’s competence may be introduced by the parties, and the defendant may testify, confront witnesses, and present evidence on the issue of his or her competency. On the basis of the evidence introduced at the hearing, the court shall decide if the defendant is competent.

(h) Commitment of the defendant. (1) If the court finds, after the hearing, that a defendant is competent it shall proceed with the criminal case.

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