Criminal Competencies June 9, 2014. Criminal Competencies Competency evaluations very common...

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Transcript of Criminal Competencies June 9, 2014. Criminal Competencies Competency evaluations very common...

Civil and Criminal Competencies

Criminal CompetenciesJune 9, 2014Criminal CompetenciesCompetency evaluations very common (60,000/year)Among the most important psychological input in criminal casesCapacity/competency, though governed by rules, is ambiguous and complicatedCompetency is dependent upon the facts of the casePurposes of Competency Doctrineto maintain fairness in the legal systemthreatened when mental incapacities reduce ability to meet demands of defendants roleto insure accuracy of trials resultsdefendant must recognize relevance of certain information that would be important for the court to hear in order to reach a correct verdictWays in which demands of trials varycomplexity and multiplicity of charges facing defendant. Are charges being tried separately?events associated with alleged offense. Were accomplices involved (who might have different stories)?range of possible penalties for this alleged offense. Does the offense allow for one fixed penalty, minimum-maximum, life, death?range of types of evidence available to counsel without defendants cooperation. Were witnesses present? Will physical evidence make it easy to raise reasonable doubt?simple or complex legal defenses available? Will a lot of witnesses or evidence be presented?From Grisso, T. Competency To Stand Trial Evaluations. Sarasota, FL: Professional Resource Exchange, 1988, p. 99-100.Sources of Legal Rules for Competencystate statutesoffer definitions of incompetency and rules defining the legal process one must go through in order to address the issuecase lawappellate rulings on disputes concerning interpretation of lawadministrative lawDusky v. United StatesThe test must be whether [the defendant] has sufficient present ability to consult with his attorney with a reasonable degree of rational understanding and a rational as well as factual understanding of the proceedings against himIf present, the incapacity must be a product of a mental disease or defect or mental disorderMINIMAL level of competency standardDusky kidnapped 15-year-old girl, transported her across state lines, and raped her. Psychiatrist testified that he suffered from severe mental illness. He was found competent he was oriented and had some recollection of events. He was convicted. 8th Circuit US COA heard the case and affirmed the conviction. USSC reviewed the case, overturned the conviction and remanded it back to trial court for retrial. The ruling contained the wording presented in the slide.6A few issuesWhat is factual understanding?What is rational understanding?How are they distinguished?What is a reasonable degree of understanding?Legal Process for CompetencyRaising the issue (anyone can raise, so should not assume probably incompetent)Evaluation (most states recognize psychologists, psychiatrists, and other qualified MHPs)Hearing (procedures vary)Disposition (next step depends on findings)RemediationLegal Competency is NOT:mental illness onlycan be mentally ill or defective but not incompetent, though the opposite is not trueignoranceneed for treatmentIn the legal setting, the goal of treatment is to restore competency, not necessarily to restore healthcriminal responsibilitydistinction between competency and MSOresult of competency evaluationresults are open to challengeMentally IllIncompetentRelationship between Competency and Mental IllnessAll incompetent people are mentally illNot all mentally ill people are incompetentObjectives of Competency Evaluationsfunctional description of specific abilitiescausal explanations for deficits in competency abilitiesinteractive significance of deficits in competency abilities how will trial be affected?conclusory objective (competent or not?)prescriptive options if incompetent, what must be done to remediate?From Grisso, T. (1988). Competency To Stand Trial Evaluations. Sarasota, FL: Professional Resource Exchange.

Functional Description of Competency Abilities (competency to stand trial)understanding/appreciation of trial processability to manifest appropriate courtroom behaviorunderstanding and reasoning about defenseability to remember, process, and communicate informationUnderstanding, Reasoning, Appreciation dimensions of MacCATFunctional Descriptionoften requires behavioral assessment of competency related abilitiesinformational and interactive componentsevaluation should be task-specific and may vary depending on type of competency at issuespecific assessment devices available (Tanisha)McGarrys Competency Functions for Competency Assessment Instrument (McGarry et al., 1973)consider realistically possible legal defensesmanage ones own behavior and avoid disruptionsrelate to attorneyparticipate with attorney in planning legal strategyunderstand the roles of various participants in the trialunderstand court procedureappreciate the chargesappreciate the range and nature of possible penaltiesperceive realistically the likely outcome of the trialprovide attorney with available pertinent facts concerning the offensetestify relevantlybe motivated toward self-defenseFlorida Statutes (916.12): Mental Competence to ProceedDoes not have present ability to consult with attorney with a reasonable degree of rational understanding or if the defendant has no rational, as well as factual understanding of the proceedings against himFirst, determine if mentally ill, then determine if criteria are metSpecific criteria, from McGarry etc.Determine treatmentMedication issues patient isnt automatically incompetent if needs meds to meet criteria

Florida Statutes (916.12): Mental Competence to Proceed - CriteriaAppreciate changes or allegationsAppreciate range and nature of possible penaltiesUnderstand adversarial nature of the legal processDisclose to counsel facts pertinent to the proceedings at issueManifest appropriate courtroom behaviorTestify relevantlyCausal Explanations for Competency DeficitsSuccessful/maybe successfulmental disordermental deficiencysituational states (drug hallucinosis, fatigue)Not likely successfulignorance of legal standardsmalingering/poor motivationCompetency as deliveredCapacity vs. willingnessPrescriptive Optionsare the deficits remediable?if so, what treatment is required?how long is remediation likely to take?is the treatment available locally?are restrictive conditions likely to be needed after placement?least restrictive option preferredPrescriptive Options (contd)Dangerousness (criminal civil)Compelled medication (Sell decision)There are important government intereststhat will be furthered with medicationsThe medication is necessary (no lesser alternatives)The medication is clinically appropriateIf defendant objects, Sell hearing

Instruments/Procedures for Determination of CompetenciesFunctional ObjectiveSemistructured InterviewsCompetency Assessment InstrumentInterdisciplinary Fitness InterviewMcArthur Competence Assessment Tool Criminal Adjudication (MacCat-CA)Structured Stimulus MaterialsCompetency Screening testTrial Process VideosArchival and Observational DataEvaluating for CompetencyCase scenarioCan you be of assistance to trier of fact with a standard NP evaluation?Concept mappingEcological validityTestifying to ultimate legal issue

Competency Assessment Instrument: Description of FunctionsAppraisal of Available Legal DefensesHow do you think you can be defended against these charges?Unmanageable BehaviorDirect: observationIndirect: What do you think would happen if you spoke out or moved around in the courtroom without permission?Quality of Relating to AttorneyDirect: observationIndirect: Do you have confidence in your lawyer?Planning of Legal Strategy including PleadingIs there anything that you disagree with in the way your lawyer is trying to handle your case, and if so, what are you going to do about it?Appraising the role of defense counsel, prosecutor, judge, jury, defendant, witnessesIn court, what is the role of the ....CAI Function Descriptions (contd)Understanding of Court ProcedureAfter your lawyer is finished asking you questions on the stand, who can ask you questions?Appreciation of ChargesDo you think people in general would regard you with some fear on the basis of such a charge?Appreciation of Range of Possible PenaltiesIf youre found guilty as charged, what are the possible sentences the judge could give you?Appraisal of Likely OutcomeHow strong is the case against you?Capacity to Disclose Pertinent Facts to AttorneyTell me what actually happened, what you saw and did and heard before, during, and after you are supposed to have committed this offenseCAI Function Descriptions (contd) Capacity to Realistically Challenge Prosecution WitnessesSuppose a witness against you told a lie in the courtroom. What would you do?Capacity to Testify RelevantlyNo example questionsSelf-Defeating vs. Self-Serving Motivation (legal sense)Suppose the DA made some legal errors and your lawyer wants to appeal the guilty finding in your case -- would you accept that?Competency Screening Test Items The lawyer told Bill that ___________________When I go to court the lawyer will _________________Jack felt like the judge_________________When Phil was accused of the crime, he________________When I prepare to go to court with my lawyer_______________If the jury finds me guilty, I__________________The way a court trial is decided__________________When the evidence in Georges case was presented to the jury, they___________________When the lawyer questioned his client in court, the client said___________________If Jack has to try his own case, he ____________________Each time the D.A. asked me a question I _________________While listening to the witnesses testify against me, I _________________CST Items (Contd)When the witness testifying against Harry gave incorrect evidence, he____________________When Bob disagreed with his lawyer on his defense, he__________________When I was formally accused of the crime, I thought to myself