1.Incompetence to stand trial means that an individual has an intellectual or psychological impairment that prevents them from being fully present in the courtroom, but it is not limited to only this. Adjudicative incompetence can also refer to the defendant lacking knowledge of the courtroom and their own right’s as an individual. The only defendants that are able to stand trial show a good understanding of rational thinking and can confidently communicate with their lawyer. An incompetent person is not allowed to stand trial in order to protect the rights of the individual and to keep peace and fairness in the courtroom, as it actually violates the U.S. Constitution to do so.
The insanity defense can be defined as a person who has or had no control over their behavior and mental processes during the time of the incident. It is thought that this type of individual is driven by compulsion and irrational thinking and is the basis for the insanity standards. According to the M’Naghten Rule, it is a essentially a test between right and wrong for the defendant. It evaluates whether a person was consciously aware of the illegal act or knowing morally right from wrong at the time. The Brawner Rule states that the individual’s mental disease is the primary reason for the illegal act, as it first affects mental processes, and then the inability to control their behavior. Unfortunately until 1972, several cases ended up with the defendants being placed in psychiatric institutions for a long amount of time until they could be evaluated again to get out. If they were not found to have made nay improvements, they were often sent back to a psychiatric hospital for an indefinite amount of time. The patients were often treated very poorly which in turn caused them to suffer more mental health issues. Jackson vs. Indiana helped shine light on how no progress was being made with this type of confinement and proved that it violated the U.S Constitution. Today, more community based approaches to mental health that make a safe environment for patients are implemented into psychiatric programs an rehabilitation centers today.
2.The standards of “incompetent to stand trial”, also known as Adjudicative Competence, is not solely limited to a persons mental capabilities, it also asks what was emotional state during the time of the crime. Several factors are dependent upon their competency such as the understanding of court procedures and whether or not they are able to process all presented information to them by the judge and/or an attorney. They should also be able to “intellectually” distinguish the roles of each participating party in a court room including their rights as a defendant.
The U.S Supreme Court ruled that a person must be able to not only receive information, but also be able to comprehend the information set before them, otherwise it is a violation of their rights, which violates of the Constitution. Furthermore leading to the question, should a person who is diagnosed by a professional and labeled with having a mental disorder stand trial, and if so, are they competent enough to know the severities of their crime and be charged for it? In these types of trials it is the judges decision to decide whether someone is incompetent or not. Once the judge rules incompetent, the diagnosed individual is then institutionalized until they are restored which usually takes up to three months. It used to be that a defendant would be committed in an maximum security institution for several months where they would undergo an psychiatric evaluation. Following that procedure, if the court still found them incompetent, they would be sent to a mental hospital indefinitely. However, later on the Supreme Court ruled the standard unconstitutional because it was not clear how prescription drugs could help restore competence in a individual who was already mentally ill. Courts had to consider ramifications of defendants taking prescription drugs against their will, especially for crimes that did not involve violence (case of Sell vs. the United States Supreme Court.) However, courts showed less understanding to omitting the prescription drugs in cases where violence was involved.
Mental illness obstructs a persons ability to think rationally, it also affects the capacity in which they maneuver through life, and how they respond to different situations. The 4 DMI (Domestic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) a person can be classified as are; the schizophrenia spectrum, bipolar disorder, major depression (all highly used to plead cases of insanity) and APD. The Insanity Standard of Rules focus on a persons psychological health. Logic and ration of a persons mentality is considered when determining the reasoning for criminal acts committed, evidence presented in court and whether a defendant should be held accountable for their actions.
The rules as follows,
The M’Naghten (right or wrong) rule states that if a person who suffers a mental disease did not know right from wrong at the time and did not know that what they were doing was wrong, will not be held accountable for their actions. The Brawner Rule States a person would not be held accountable for their actions if the crime was a result of a mental disease and it influenced their mental and emotional state of mind, also if their mental disease hindered their ability to control themselves. The Durham Rule states if a person has a mental disease, they simply can not be held responsible for their crime.
The judicial system considers these three insanity standard rules when deciding if a defendant is in fact a candidate for pleading insanity during a criminal case. The rules are widely based on if a persons mental processing allowed them to think rationally about what they were doing and if they were in control of their behavior at the time. If it can be proven then that person would then be exempt from the responsibility of their actions or partially held accountable. Because some jurisdictions do not agree on all three standards, in the case (Clark vs Atlanta), the U.S Supreme Court allotted each judicial system the opportunity to follow their own insanity standards in which they believed in, whether they recognized one or all three.
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