Prongs of cometency
Make a response to the following, giving your thoughts (agreements and/or disagreements
According to Schug & Fradella (2015) the competency standard in each case is somewhat flexible, though there are federal guidelines that have been issued to assist judges in making competency decisions. The list is by no means all inclusive in my opinion. They pretty much say if the defendant knows who he is and understands that there is a judge and a prosecutor present, and that he could be convicted of a crime, and has a lawyer, then he is competent. What about factors like memory and recall? Will they remember what is said during the trial? Are they capable of understanding the testimony? These are just a few examples of other things that could be taken into consideration.
Since the question this week mentioned the prongs of competency standards, I was not sure if we should address the competency to stand trial or competency to be executed, so I will address the latter as well. The mention of the prongs were discussed this week in our Powerpoint. Atkins v. Virginia found that the execution of a mentally retarded or intellectually disabled was considered a violation of the 8th amendment right to not be subject to cruel and unusual punishment. Three Prongs are used in the test for competency Prong 1 and 2 are a significant impairment in intellectual function and in adaptive functioning. The third prong says that both deficiencies must manifest before age 18. While I believe these are more inclusive and allow for a wider range of serious disorders that cause impairment in functioning, it’s the third prong that is concerning. Especially considering these are inmates that are on death row. What if the impairment didn’t happen until after 18, or what if they were impaired but never officially diagnosed with an intellectual disability before age 18. There is no greater injustice in my opinion, than the execution of a mentally ill offender in any capacity. Mental illness or disability is not something people choose, treatment is what is needed. How many mentally ill offenders would have never offended if they had been properly treated? This should be the question that haunts us.
Please use Schug, R. A., & Fradella, H. F. (2015). Mental illness and crime. Sage Publications. For 1 of the references.