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Sieling v. Eyman


The federal appeals court decision made the Ninth Circuit the first to adopt a higher standard for determining competency to plead guilty than the competency standard for standing trial. Only the District of Columbia Circuit followed the Ninth Circuit's lead. In many jurisdictions, the standard remained the same: a person was competent to plead guilty if the person was competent to stand trial. Generally, a person is competent to stand trial if he understands the nature and the objective of the proceedings and is capable of assisting his lawyer in his defense. Other jurisdictions crafted slightly different standards. In 1993, the U.S. Supreme Court put an end to the confusion. By a vote of 7-2, the High Court held in Godinez v. Moran (1993) that the standard for competency to plead guilty should be the same as the standard for competency to stand trial.

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Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1973 to 1980Sieling v. Eyman - Significance, Impact