Mental Competency


Mental Competency, Competency Hearing

  • Definitions
  1. Mental Competency
    1. Sufficient understanding and memory to comprehend their own situation
    2. Understanding of the consequence of their proposed actions
    3. Competence is determined by a judge
    4. May indicate whether a person may stand trial
      1. Can they distinguish truth from fiction
      2. Can they assist their attorney in their own defense
  • Evaluation
  • Competency Hearing Questions
  1. Does he have a legal argument or position?
    1. How to defend self against charges?
  2. Can he behave in the courtroom?
  3. Does he relate to his attorney?
    1. Does he confide in and trust in his attorney
    2. Does he agree with his attorney?
  4. Has he thought of a strategy of lesser charges?
    1. What if he disagrees with the lawyer?
  5. Does he understand the roles of trial participants?
    1. Jury
    2. Judge
    3. Witnesses
    4. Prosecuting attorney
    5. Defense counsel
  6. Understanding of court procedure?
  7. Understanding of significance of charges?
  8. Understanding of the Penalty?
  9. Likely outcome of the trial?
  10. Is he able to inform attorney of the relevant facts?
  11. Can he challenge the prosecution witnesses?
  12. Is he coherent enough to give relevant Testimony?
  13. Is he self defeating or self-serving?