Competency to stand trial and criminal responsibility (insanity) are two legal issues wherein a defendant’s mental state is called into question. Mental state at the time of the alleged offense is at issue in criminal responsibility whereas present mental state is at issue in competency to stand trial. This chapter introduces each of these legal issues and reviews relevant research and commentary. With respect to criminal responsibility, various insanity defense standards are reviewed, data on the use and success of the insanity defense is presented, and the characteristics of insanity acquittees are discussed. In addition, problems with the application of the insanity defense in the courtroom-such as those pertaining to judicial instruction, juror attitudes, and jurors’ implicit theories about insanity-are highlighted. With respect to competency to stand trial, the standard for competency is outlined, procedures related to the determination of competency are explained, and the characteristics of defendants referred for competency evaluation are presented. In addition, problems with the application of the competency doctrine within the courtroom-such as the contextual nature of the evaluation and the balancing of the needs of the state with those of the defendant-are highlighted. Recommendations for policy/procedural solutions to some of the problems highlighted are also presented.
|Title of host publication||Psychological Expertise in Court|
|Subtitle of host publication||Psychology in the Courtroom, Volume II|
|Publisher||Taylor and Francis|
|Number of pages||23|
|State||Published - 1 Jan 2016|