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Determing Competency - Assessing Edward Wilson

Autor:   •  September 26, 2011  •  Essay  •  1,287 Words (6 Pages)  •  1,146 Views

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Assessing Edward Wilson

The process of determining competence can be a rather lengthy process. There are several steps that are inclusive in making this determination. If the attorney of the person on trial has reason to believe that his defendant is incompetent to stand trial he must follow a series of steps to have the offender evaluated. He must first file a motion with the courts to have his client evaluated for competence. This motion can be filed at any time during the preceding prior to sentencing of the offender.

Once the motion is filed, the courts with then order a psychiatric or psychological evaluation of the defendant. A hearing will then be scheduled to discuss the finding of the evaluation with the attorneys and well and the judge presiding over the matter. At the hearing a determination as well as a disposition will be made in regards to the defendant with the recommendation of the evaluator taken into context. If the offender is found to be incompetent the proceedings will stop there and the courts will make a determination in regards to the fate of the defendant. If in fact the offender is found to be competent the defendant will be set for trial.

Edward Wilson has been assigned by the courts to the XYZ Mental Health Facility for the past three months. I am the Mental Health Professional that has been assigned to assess his mental state and prepare my findings for presentation to the courts for review in this case. I have reviewed his case and am preparing an assessment of Mr. Edward Wilson.

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. Because trial competency issues are raised substantially more often than the insanity defense, psychologists involved in forensic assessment and consultation are likely to have frequent experience with it.

When doctors check for mental competency, they are basically checking for a few very basic factors such as to make sure that the person is conscious and able to function. They will make sure that the person knows what the date, day of the week, time of day it is, they will ask common social questions like who is the president or prime minister, or what town are you in. They also ask simple math questions or some other method of learning if the person knows some basic information.

"It has long been accepted that a person whose mental condition is such that he lacks the capacity to understand the nature and object of the proceedings against him, to consult with counsel, and to assist in preparing his defense may not be subjected to a trial." Drope v. Missouri, 420 U.S. 162, 171 (1975)

Given the information that had been provided to me in this scenario, there are several more questions that

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