OTHER

COMPETENCIES

OTHER COMPETENCIES AS THE FOCUS OF EVALUATION:

Evaluations of competencies other than the competency to stand trial are often the focus of forensic evaluation.

 

Examples include the capacity to:

  1. Consent to search or seizure

  2. Confess 

  3. Plead guilty

  4. Waive the right to counsel

  5. Refuse an insanity defense or other mental state defense

  6. Testify

  7. Be sentenced

  8. Be executed.

 

The specifics of the evaluation are tailored to the nature of the referral question and statutory language and case law relevant to the referral question. Although all competency evaluations are focused on an assessment of capacity, the threshold for this capacity may be higher in some (the capacity to waive the right to counsel) than in others (the capacity to be executed). Further, the nature and quality of the defendant's understanding may differ between areas of focus. For example, even though a defendant may have the prerequisite capacities to consent to a search or seizure, they may not have possessed the intact capacities to provide a confession. Some competencies (competence to confess) are typically assessments of past capacities, whereas others (competence to be sentenced) regard present capacities.

 

Relevant Case Law

for Other Competencies

COLORADO v. CONNELLY

The taking of statements as evidence from an actively mentally ill individual does not violate the Due Process Clause (14th Amendment).

HALL v. FLORIDA
Requiring defendants show an IQ test score of 70 or below before submission of additional intellectual disability evidence is unconstitutional.
INDIANA v. EDWARDS

The standard for competency to stand trial is  not the same as for the right to self-representation.

PANETTI v. QUARTERMAN

The 8th Amendment requires an individual have a factual and rational understanding of his execution.

SEILING v. EYMAN

The standard for competence to plead guilty is the ability to make a reasoned choice from presented alternatives and to understand the consequences.

GODINEZ v. MORAN

The (Dusky) standard to waive constitutional rights is the same as for competency to stand trial.

ATKINS v. VIRGINIA

Mentally retarded individuals cannot be executed.

FORD v. WAINRIGHT

An insane prisoner cannot be executed.