Judicial review of competency or reasonability in regard to defendant mens rea (mental state) at issue in case involves four general rule elements where 1) waiver of rights is determined accord to the 2) capacity of a party to plea and 2) stand trial, the criteria to 4) defense. Defendants “pleading not guilty by reason of insanity” forsake criminal responsibility in exchange for state mental health incarceration (Meyer & Weaver, 2006).
In the cases State v. Bates and State v. Stiller no assignment of incompetency should occur. If temporary insanity is determined to be in question, hospital review may take place, but the right to stand trial is likely to be the result – especially in Stiller’s case where there is ascription of “insanity” to an emotional disorder. Due to the fact that there will likely be no disarray in testing of Stiller, the client is likely to end up back in court to stand trial.
If the two aforementioned defendants are found to be “sane” yet “guilty” by the courts, they will face criminal sentencing (i.e. prison) for commission of the alleged crimes. Temporary insanity cases are generally reviewed for 1) competency; and often involve 2) provocation by “victims”. The latter scenario would result in less time, and criminal record. Cases resulting in “not guilty by reason of insanity” typically extend incarceration time up to life; and this includes felonies such as theft.
The case State v. Rhodes appears to be accurate in evaluation, as the client is unable to respond proficiently to Fifth Amendment rights and details to the case (Melton, Petrila, Poythress and Slobogin, 2007). There is also substantial record of instability leading to the determination of “incompetent to stand trial (Melton, Petrila, Poythress and Slobogin, 2007).
Court decision to the cases analyzed in Melton, Petrila, Poythress and Slobogin (2007) illustrate how defendants are deemed incompetent to stand trial, and then evaluated for “not guilty by reason of insanity” and mandated for long-term hospitalization, or alternately designated as “temporary insanity” and assigned for mental health review:
- In the case the State v. Bates, the defendant’s history of mental health issues sustained by diagnosis of paranoia and schizophrenia does not result in “incompetent to stand trial” The defendant is deemed currently sane at time of court evaluation. This outcome indicates that prior mental health history is not automatic determination of incompetency in a case (Melton, Petrila, Poythress and Slobogin, 2007)
- In the case State v. Stiller, emotional disorders categorized as Bi-Polar by an evaluator based on refusal to take prescribed medication. The evaluator erroneously if not illegally uses third party information in violation of patient rights to non-disclosure, citing history of exhibited emotional disorders in support of the recommendation for incompetency to stand trial (Melton, Petrila, Poythress and Slobogin, 2007).
- The circumstance of the defendant’s inability to answer questions in relation to charges levied against him accurately evidences confusion in the State v. Rhodes (Melton, Petrila, Poythress and Slobogin, 2007). The inability to comprehend Fifth Amendment rights and comparative history of mental competency issues sustain the evaluator’s claim that the defendant should be considered “incompetent to stand trial” (Melton, Petrila, Poythress and Slobogin, 2007).
Melton, G.B., Petrila, J., Poythress, N.G., Slobogin, C. (2007). Psychological evaluations for the court: A handbook for mental health professionals and lawyers, (3rd ed.). New York, NY: The Guilford Press.