There are a variety of ways that any court situation can come to a close. Ultimately, a typical verdict of "guilty" or "not guilty" will be issued at the end of a criminal court proceeding. However, other various defense mechanisms may be used in court if a client is unfit for trial. In some violent crime cases, a defense of "not guilty by reason of insanity" or finding someone "incompetent to stand trial" may be applicable to use in court. Although either may be useful given the right circumstances, they are not to be used interchangeably.
Incompetent to Stand Trial
To be considered competent, an individual must have the certain skills and abilities necessary to complete a task. With regards to a trial situation, competency is determined by the court. It is a matter of legal fact that is decided before a trial begins. A few of the prerequisites to be considered competent to stand trial include:
- The individual must be able to demonstrate cognitive ability to understand what is happening in a courtroom.
- The defendant must be capable of thinking rationally about court proceedings.
- The person in question must be able to work closely with an attorney to assist in developing a defense for their case.
The information does not mean that if someone is incompetent to stand trial that they are given a free pass on their crimes. However, if they are found incompetent and the trial still proceeds, there are multiple options for appeal should he or she be found guilty....