Other Free Encyclopedias » Law Library - American Law and Legal Information » Crime and Criminal Law » Competency to Stand Trial - The Competency Standard And Its Application, The Competency Assessment Process, Disposition Following Competency Determination, Psychotropic Medication In The Incompetency Process

Competency to Stand Trial - The Competency Assessment Process

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When the competency issue is raised, the court typically will appoint several clinical evaluators to conduct a formal assessment of the defendant's competence. These evaluators, usually psychiatrists or psychologists, will examine the defendant and then submit written reports to the court. The evaluation may be performed on an inpatient basis, but increasingly is done outpatient, in a court clinic or the jail. The court then decides the issue, sometimes following a hearing at which the examiners testify and are subject to cross-examination. When both parties stipulate to the findings made in the reports, a hearing will be unnecessary. When the issue is contested, state law will allocate the burden of persuasion, and under Medina v. California, 505 U.S. 437 (1992), it will not violate due process to place the burden on the party asserting incompetence, even if that party is the defendant. Under Medina, such a burden may be required by statute to be carried by a preponderance of the evidence, but the Supreme Court held in Cooper v. Oklahoma, 517 U.S. 348 (1996) that due process would be violated if the burden is required to be carried by clear and convincing evidence.

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