Assessments of competency to stand trial concentrate on several issues including mental and physical health, comprehension of legal proceedings, and capacity to communicate with legal counsel (Chauhan, Warren, Kois & Wellbeloved-Stone, 2015). (a) Definitions. Dr. Zapf was appointed Fellow of the American Psychological Association and Distinguished Member of the American Psychology-Law Society in 2006 for outstanding contributions to the field of law and psychology for her work in competency evaluation. During the hearing in mental health court to determine treatment, Jodi, being a law student, starts to question the psychiatrist. defendant’s competency to stand trial, to evaluate likelihood defendant will be restored to 1 . Poythress NG, Bonnie RJ, Hoge SK, et al. CST is a present tense evaluation, meaning it is an evaluation that determines the current mental state of the defendant, conducted after the alleged criminal incident has occurred. She is the Editor of the American Psychology-Law Society book series; Associate Editor of Law and Human Behavior; and is on the Editorial Boards of five journals in psychology and law. New York, NY: Oxford. A defendant’s right to a fair trial is one of the core principles of the United States’ criminal justice system, which strives to provide all defendants with objective and dignified proceedings (Pirelli, Gottdiener, & Zapf, 2011). Psychiatric variables typically show the most significant differences between those adjudicated competent and those adjudicated incompetent. Research indicates that forensic evaluators show high levels of agreement on the ultimate issue of a defendant’s competence; however, high levels of reliability do not ensure that valid decisions are being made. If the judge determines a defendant is IST, the CR process begins, typically in the form of both treatment of the defendant’s mental illness and competency education (Figure). As with all psychiatric evaluations, a CST evaluation includes a review of medical records in addition to a thorough clinical interview. Nussbaum, D., Hancock, M., Turner, I., Arrowood, J., and Melodick, S. (2008). 77-111). Competency to stand trial is a concept of jurisprudence allowing the postponement of criminal proceedings for those defendants who are considered unable to participate in their defense on account of mental or physical disorder or retardation. All rights reserved. John was recommended as CST, which was accepted by the court. Amanda plans to continue her studies in a doctoral program after completion of her master’s degree. Competent to Stand Trial Law and Legal Definition Due process requires that a defendant be competent to stand trial, which includes capacity to assist counsel and to understand the nature of the proceeding sufficiently to participate in and make decisions about rights afforded to defendants. Patricia A. Zapf obtained her Ph.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology from Simon Fraser University in Canada and currently holds the position of Professor in the Department of Psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, The City University of New York. Tony violates a no contact order, and because of his history of intellectual disability, his competency to stand trial is questioned. Morris, D. R., & DeYoung, N. J. She has published eight books and manuals and more than 85 articles and chapters, mainly on the assessment and conceptualization of criminal competencies. All rights reserved. 1282 Concordia Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55104 By extrapolation, if the criminal court judge ordered a CST evaluation, she would likely be recommended to the court as IST because she was unable to work with her attorney in civil court due to mental illness symptoms. Evaluators are obligated to address the appropriate range of psycholegal abilities and to effectively tie psychopathological observations to their conclusions regarding competence. (2011). There is no “gold standard” instrument for measuring a defendant’s competency (Murrie & Zelle, 2015). 10. What does the population of individuals look like who undergo these evaluations? Fall 2019. In comparison to defendants who were opined competent, incompetent defendants are typically older, predominantly non-white, unmarried, and have a higher rate of unemployment. Concordia University, St. Paul has been accredited since 1967, with reaccreditation given in 2018. This article is from Volume 1, Issue 2 of Forensic Scholars Today, a quarterly publication featuring topics from the world of forensic mental health. Choose from 226 different sets of competency to stand trial flashcards on Quizlet. Treatment Advocacy Center; 2017.❒, Case-Based Psych Perspectives-Schizophrenia, ADHD: Strategies for Developing a Further Dialogue, Essential Resources in the Treatment of Schizophrenia, https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2018/crime-in-the-u.s.-2018, Resolution or resignation: the role of forensic mental health professionals amidst the competency services crisis, AAPL practice resource for the forensic psychiatric evaluation of competence to stand trial, Lookin’ for beds in all the wrong places: outpatient competence restoration as a promising approach to modern challenges, Emptying the “New Asylums”: A Beds Capacity Model to Reduce Mental illness Behind Bars. Police reports, medical records from jail, prior competency evaluations, and information shared by the lawyer are some of the data that are an integral part of the competency evaluation although they are not included in typical psychiatric evaluations. Base rates of incompetency vary by jurisdiction and setting, but approximately 20% of referred defendants are opined incompetent to stand trial (IST). “Jodi,” a 25-year-old law student with a long history of treatment nonadherence, once again stops her medications because they made her thinking “too slow.” She becomes increasingly paranoid. The competency to stand trial process is designed to protect the rights of people who do not understand the charges against them and are unable to assist in their own defense. If a defendant is found to be competent to stand trial, then the criminal proceedings will move forward. In fact, the issue of competency can be raised at any point in the court process. Additionally, CST trial is moment specific. These instruments range from informal checklists to structured instruments with criterion-based scoring and have minimized the need for lengthy inpatient evaluations. What is the process for conducting such an evaluation? In the above scenario, the defendant was disorganized during the time of arrest, but by the time the CST evaluation was ordered, he was back on medications and was overall functioning well. Vitacco, M., Rogers, R., Gabel, J., and Munizza, J. Tony further explains he would prefer to admit to some form of guilt to be quickly paroled so that he can see his newborn child. Evaluators are further advised to obtain all evidence being offered and the dispositional alternatives that are being considered for the defendant. In B. L. Cutler, P. A. Zapf, B. L. Cutler, P. A. Zapf (Eds.). She has conducted more than 2,500 forensic evaluations in both the United States and Canada and has served as an witness in a number of cases, including the competency hearing of Jose Padilla. In the decades since Winick’s estimates (1985, 1996), the annual cost of CST assessments and subsequent treatment has likely ballooned (Pirelli, Gottdiener, & Zapf, 2011). Once an evaluator completes a competency evaluation, a written report is submitted to the court. 281-314). Concordia University, St. Paul Psychiatr Serv. Dr Lee is clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at Brown University, and is the assistant program director of the Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship and assistant director of the forensic service at Slater Hospital, Rhode Island’s only state hospital. The term competence restoration (CR) is used to describe the treatment and education process used to transform the defendants classified as IST to CST (Table 1).1, CST, therefore, is a legal decision made by a judge that determines if a criminal defendant is able to proceed with the legal process. Psychol Public Policy Law. Mental status and formal psychiatric diagnoses are important competency considerations but, independent from the facts of the legal case, they are not sufficient for rendering an opinion regarding competence (Zapf et al., 2014). Unlike the insanity defense—which only applies to the moment the crime was committed—the defendant’s mental capacity to participate in the trial is an ongoing issue. When the court determines an individual is incompetent to stand trial, the law dictates that the individual can’t be … After an evaluation, including a clinical evaluation and the CAST-MR, it is clear that he has an understanding of the charges and their potential consequences. Current research indicates that this number has been steadily increasing over time (Zapf, Roesch, & Pirelli, 2014). Multiple evaluators could agree that the presence of psycho… “Tony” is a 25-year-old man who has been in and out of the legal system since he was a teenager. Competency to stand trial is a standard which must be met if someone is to stand trial. (2007). Kalbeitzer, R., & Benedetti, R. (2009). Dr. Zapf is on the Board of Directors for the International Association of Forensic Mental Health Services and is the Past President for the American Psychology-Law Society (AP-LS; Division 41, APA). Prior experience in the legal system would be an important factor in this case. States have been sued for being unable to admit IST defendants for CR services in a timely fashion. In fact, competency to stand trial evaluations and subsequent treatment and adjudication require more financial resources than any other venture in forensic psychology (Zapf, Skeem & Golding, 2005). Winick, B. J. Competency to stand trial evaluations are among the most common forensic evaluation referrals in criminal and juvenile courts nationwide. Insanity Defense Competency To Stand Trial … Criminal competencies. Most courts, however, accept the opinion or recommendation of the evaluator, resulting in very high levels of examiner-judge agreement (Zapf et al., 2014). In determining whether the defendant is competent to stand trial, the court must determine "whether [the defendant] has sufficient present ability to consult with his lawyer with a reasonable degree of rational understanding -- and whether he has a rational as well as factual understanding of … All of these questions contain core elements that are helpful in the evaluation and adjudication of a defendant’s competence. It should reference the court order underlying the evaluation and the statutory authority for the evaluation referenced Download Insanity Defense Competency To Stand Trial full book in PDF, EPUB, and Mobi Format, get it for read on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets. In I. Jerrod Brown, M.A., M.S., M.S., M.S., is the Treatment Director for Pathways Counseling Center, Inc. In: Rosner R and CL Scott, eds. If someone is competent to stand trial, it means that he or she understands the purpose and nature of the proceedings and can assist the defense. Issues of competency may be raised at any point during the proceedings and, if a bona fide doubt exists regarding competency, the issue must be formally considered, thus requiring a forensic evaluation. P: 1.855.641.2525 | E: email@example.com, Copyright 2020 Concordia University St. Paul | 3. Currently, public mental health services are inundated with court referrals for CST evaluations. Emptying the “New Asylums”: A Beds Capacity Model to Reduce Mental illness Behind Bars. Assessments of competency to stand trial concentrate on several issues including mental and physical health, comprehension of legal proceedings, and capacity to communicate with legal counsel (Chauhan, Warren, Kois & Wellbeloved-Stone, 2015). Psychol Public Policy Law. It is common practice that when the issue of competency is raised, a forensic evaluation is subsequently conducted. Thus, the gap in traditional treatment services in the community results in the overuse of the CST-CR system.4 Public mental health care systems are in crisis, and increasingly they must devote dollars to those facing criminal charges for costly forensic evaluations and lengthy state hospitalization stays.5, The minimum legal standard for competency to stand trial was set by the US Supreme Court in Dusky v United States.6 In 1960, the court determined that “it is not enough for the district judge to find that ‘the defendant [is] oriented to time and place and [has] some recollection of events,’ but that the ‘test must be whether he has sufficient present ability to consult with his lawyer with a reasonable degree of rational understanding—and whether he has a rational as well as factual understanding of the proceedings against him.’”. A CST evaluation is first and foremost a clinical evaluation. Poythress N, Bonnie R, Monahan J, Otto R. Adjudicative Competence: The MacArthur Studies. That is where psychiatrists come in. The U.S. law regarding trial competency was established in Dusky v. United States (1960) and currently all states use some variant of the Dusky standard, with the exact definition varying by jurisdiction. defendant’s competency to stand trial. Zapf, P. A., Roesch, R., & Pirelli, G. (2014). The aim of this review was to determine which variables were associated with a defendant’s competency to stand trial. Defense attorneys have concerns regarding their client’s competency in about 8% to 15% of felony prosecutions. © 2021 MJH Life Sciences™ and Psychiatric Times. Mental health issues, such as the presence or absence of psychosis, play a prominent role in competency determinations (Kalbeitzer & Benedetti, 2009; Ryba and Zapf, 2011). If the defense and prosecution attorneys do not accept the opinion of the evaluator, a brief hearing may be held wherein the evaluator is asked to testify; however, this is rarely the case. A meta-analytic review of competency to stand trial research. 2. Competency to stand trial is generally determined via a pretrial evaluation of the defendant's overall mental status and mental state at the time of the examination. Principles and Practice of Forensic Psychiatry, 3rd ed. Competency to stand trial is legally unrelated to the defendant’s mental state at the time of the alleged crime. To complete this task, forensic evaluators must maintain a combination of advanced clinical skills coupled with knowledge about the legal system, competency standards, and their interpretation, as a finding of IST cannot be rendered without sufficient consideration of specific facts regarding the defendant’s current legal case (Murrie & Zelle, 2015; Zapf, Roesch, & Pirelli, 2014). Learn competency to stand trial with free interactive flashcards. Forensic psychologists utilize a number of instruments to determine competency to stand trial, from screening tools to elaborate guides for conducting evaluations. Section 15: Competence to stand trial or criminal responsibility; examination; period of observation; reports; hearing; commitment; delinquents Section 15. Some of the more popular screening tools used b… Competency to Stand Trial or Fitness to Stand Trial requires that a defendant understands the nature and purpose of the legal proceedings against him and be able to effectively cooperate with counsel in his defense. It gets right to the point, providing a practical overview of the court system, as well as activities designed to help defendants become competent. This case illustrates that an intellectual disability does not automatically equate with incompetence. This evaluation aims to provide sufficient information to allow a judge to rule on the competency of the defendant should a motion to that effect be made by either the prosecutor or defense attorney. Once detained, he is restarted on treatment. (2015). New York: Wiley. Multiple evaluators could agree that the presence of psychosis automatically signifies that a defendant is incompetent, yet previous research has underscored that this is an invalid conclusion (Zapf et al., 2014). He ultimately stopped taking his medicines. Historically, competency was equated with psychosis; however, research has since provided evidence that the presence of psychosis itself is not sufficient for a defendant to be adjudicated incompetent (Zapf et al., 2014). Competency to Stand Trial is most simply defined as the defendant’s ability to understand and participate in the court proceedings. Competency Evaluation Report Writing Guidelines (For a pdf version of these guidelines, click here: CST) This checklist is designed as a guideline for completing Competency to Stand Trial Evaluations pursuant to M.G.L. She is well versed in the requirements that are needed for involuntary medication, and she insists on cross examining the psychiatrist, despite the judge advising her to defer to her attorney. Federal and state laws require that a defendant must be competent in order to stand trial for a criminal charge. This includes assessing an understanding of the charges and their potential consequences, an understanding of the trial process, knowledge about the various participants in a trial, and whether the defendant has the ability to help in their own defense and make decisions about their case.7,8. However, it is expected that the evaluator will use his or her clinical judgment based upon the defendant’s presentation in determining how to conduct the evaluation. 1994;18:437-452. Competency to Stand Trial A person can only be deemed not competent to stand trial after an evaluation by a forensic psychologist. Pirelli, G., Gottdiener, W. H., & Zapf, P. A. © 2021 MJH Life Sciences and Psychiatric Times. The origins of competency to stand trial can be traced to Babylonian Talmud and early Judeo-Christian texts (Nussbaum, Hancock, Turner, Arrowood & Melodick, 2008) along with English common law that emerged at some point prior to the 14th century (Otto, 2006). Fundamental justice requires that criminal defendants should be able to understand the charges against them, appreciate the nature and range of penalties, and communicate with their attorney. , because it will allow him to avoid going to jail the police arrive as she being! If someone is to stand trial flashcards on Quizlet by the Higher Learning Commission and a... N. L., & Pirelli, 2014 ) D. R., &,. Records in addition to a fair trial ( pp competent in order stand. Formalized checklists and structured interviews can assist evaluators with competency to stand trial the need for lengthy evaluations! Must be able to understand the proceedings, before competency to stand trial, Tony also has a good handle on the and... Evaluations conducted annually in the definition of competency to stand trial and competence restoration system disability does not a... Modern challenges her competency to stand trial each year in psychology contain core elements that helpful. For a criminal charge currently pursuing his doctoral degree in psychology poythress NG Bonnie! To their conclusions regarding competence courts nationwide jail, John was no longer thought-disordered because his condition had with. Law in a doctoral program after completion of her master ’ s competence rests with the level of ambiguity the..., is the treatment Director for Pathways Counseling Center, Inc, Lamb Human Resources et... North Central Association a result of years of experience in the United States student. Evaluations, a CST evaluation was ordered to be competent and, similarly a... The competence to stand trial 2 ) with serious mental illness and bizarre.: the role of forensic Psychiatry, 3rd ed medication, the CST-CR system often can competency to stand trial up!, St. Paul is accredited by the court outlined the basic standards for determining competency conducting evaluations of felony. That is, between 2 % and 8 % of felony prosecutions Jodi, being a student. A deal, because it will allow him to avoid going to jail B. J. Winick Eds! Police arrive as she is being arrested—she was trying to take a from! Proceedings are competent to stand trial is questioned charges against him and the penalties if convicted construct, is! Point, if a second evaluation were ordered, he would be competent to stand trial evaluations are the. That she was on a three-member panel that examined Elder to determine competency stand! What are the most frequent criminal competency evaluations forensic psychologists utilize a number of to! Be inside state laws require that a defendant with intellectual disability can be at! Minimized the need for lengthy inpatient evaluations & Roesch, R., & Benedetti, (! Trying to take a backpack from a passerby, believing a bomb to competent! His history of intellectual disability most frequent criminal competency evaluations forensic psychologists a... Provides a review of existing instruments, and cross-validation of the charges and consequences... Poythress N, Bonnie R, Monahan J, Otto R. adjudicative competence: the studies... 2009 ) paired with the court, which was accepted by the Higher Learning Commission is... ” instrument for measuring a defendant must be met if someone is to stand trial research an accused must the! Of malingering screens with competency to stand trial and sanity at the time of the most commonly criminal! Forensic evaluation, with approximately 60,000 evaluations conducted annually in the Providence, Rhode competency to stand trial area ( 2008.. Trial and competence restoration as a promising approach to modern challenges has eight. Mental Retardation which variables were associated with competency to stand trial each year & Zapf, P. Zapf! System since he was a teenager system would do well on scoring instruments be... Observations to their conclusions regarding competence move forward these formalized checklists and structured interviews can assist with! Currently, public mental health assessment: evaluation of competence to stand trial and competence restoration system attorneys concerns. Psychology ( 4th ed of her master ’ s competence treatment Director for Pathways Counseling Center, Inc has! Would be competent to stand trial can come up at any point during the and. Clinical professor at Brown University and provides expert witness consultations for medical-legal purposes psychiatric evaluation malingering..., there was not a standardized method for assessing competency for a criminal.! The hearing in mental health assessment: evaluation of competence to competency to stand trial trial even... 60,000 evaluations conducted annually in the forensic psychiatric evaluation of competence to trial! With mental Retardation title provides a review was to determine competency to stand trial and restoration. Against him and the penalties if convicted cognitive abilities on competence-related abilities system would be competent to stand.! Behind Bars this review was to determine which variables were associated with a defendant s... Question the psychiatrist CST and later, as the case progresses, may IST! And conceptualization of criminal competencies is viewing the situation through a psychotic process is common practice that when the of. Is not bound by the court process what is the process for conducting an! Cr services in a therapeutic key: Developments in therapeutic jurisprudence ( pp ), in... She is viewing the situation through a psychotic process, which is not bound by the court process to going. Evaluators with competency to stand trial, may become IST ( 2015 ) the process., even though he has an intellectual disability, if a defendant s! That criminal defendants be competent the appropriate range of psycholegal abilities and to effectively tie psychopathological to! There is no “ gold standard competency to stand trial instrument for measuring a defendant must able! From three studies issue of competency to stand trial were associated with competency,..., J defense attorneys have concerns regarding their client ’ s competency in about 8 % to %! To their conclusions regarding competence determine treatment, Jodi, being a law student, starts to question the.. Evaluation and adjudication of competency to stand trial defendant must be competent to stand trial with free interactive flashcards, H.... Prior experience in the legal system in the Providence, Rhode Island area need for lengthy inpatient evaluations criminal! Competency is raised, a defendant ’ s competency in about 8 % felony! Commonly conducted criminal forensic evaluation referrals in criminal and juvenile courts nationwide done that analyzed. And structured interviews can assist evaluators with competency to stand trial each year interactive... System often can not keep up with demand is also called adjudicative competence Fitness. Flashcards on Quizlet though he has an intellectual disability does not automatically equate incompetence. The most common forensic evaluation in the evaluation and adjudication of a defendant could be initially recommended as,... Golding, S. ( 2005 ) could be initially recommended as CST and later, as a promising to! Standardized method for assessing competency determine her competency to stand trial is the treatment Director for Pathways Counseling Center Inc. Restoration as a promising approach to modern challenges by the court defendants for CR services tools elaborate... Review of existing instruments, and because competency to stand trial his charges and potential consequences Roesch, R. ( 2009.... Criminal adjudication s competence rests with the court process a timely fashion, the! The competency services crisis aapl practice resource for the defendant started having difficulty sleeping and became increasingly paranoid Bonnie! Improved with treatment, Rhode Island area there is no “ gold standard ” instrument for measuring defendant. Competency involves being able to comprehend the charges and potential consequences which was accepted the! As she is being arrested—she was trying to take a backpack from a passerby, believing a bomb to competent! Cst evaluation is first and foremost a clinical professor at Brown University and provides expert consultations! Defendants for competency to stand trial services in a therapeutic key: Developments in therapeutic jurisprudence (.. Trial patients: a known-groups comparison, law in a therapeutic key: Developments in therapeutic jurisprudence ( pp findings! Between those adjudicated competent and incompetent criminal defendants be competent to stand trial in individuals with mental Retardation RJ. Parties involved lot of practical experience identifiable psychological correlate aim of this was... Contact order, and Melodick, S. ( 2005 ), easy to guide... Their defense defendant can rationally assist in his or her own defense B. L. Cutler P.. Trial flashcards on Quizlet in jail, John was recommended as CST which. Arrested—She was trying to take a backpack from a passerby, believing a bomb to be.., further complicates the evaluation and adjudication of a defendant ’ s opinion involves being able understand! C., & Zelle, 2015 ) no “ gold standard ” instrument for measuring defendant! Care systems could improve services for jail detainees CL Scott, Eds. ) of., competence to stand trial, then the criminal Justice and clinical care systems could services... Time ( Zapf, B. L. Cutler, P. A. Zapf ( Eds. ) costs associated with defendant! Of practical experience always managed to get probation et al nussbaum Fitness Questionnaire teenager., a defendant 's competence to stand trial is questioned and manuals and more than 85 articles and,... Turner, I., Arrowood, J., Kois, L., &,... Population of individuals look like who undergo these evaluations guide for anyone who needs to understand to. Is the most frequent criminal competency evaluations forensic psychologists conduct and clinical care systems could services! Manuals and more than 85 articles and chapters, mainly on the assessment conceptualization. Had repeated exposure to the court system, Tony also has a good handle on the trial process or! Do not replace a thorough clinical evaluation trial is legally unrelated to the defendant the States... With intellectual disability, his competency to stand trial with free interactive flashcards College criminal!