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Chapter 9

PSY328H1 Chapter Notes - Chapter 9: Killing Of Tim Mclean, Pro Se Legal Representation In The United States, Mental DisorderPremium

6 pages69 viewsFall 2018

Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSY328H1
Professor
Heidi Gordon
Chapter
9

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Chapter 9
Fitness to Stand Trial & the NCRMD Defence
Vincent Li stabbed Tim McLean on a Greyhound bus in ’08 "
Diagnosed w/ schizophrenia: serious mental illness whose suerers lose touch w/ reality "
Experience auditory hallucinations: hearing voices that aren’t actually there "
Thought disorder (disorganized thinking): diculty thinking & speaking in coherent
manner "
Delusions: holding false beliefs "
Despite these diculties, Li was ruled fit to stand trial "
His lawyer entered a plea of not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder
(NCRMD)
Li accepted that the oence had occurred, but claimed he was unable to form
necessary intent to meet criteria for charge of first-degree murder "
Psychiatrists testified that Li fit criteria for someone who wasn’t criminally responsible
for actions due to mental illness "
Li sent to mental health centre for further assessment & Manitoba Review Board left to
propose appropriate sentence "
Provincial (Psychiatric) Review Boards: quasi-judicial tribunals (less formal legal
tribunals that have powers & procedures resembling those of court of law) "
Responsible for overseeing & making decisions about rights & care of individuals found
unfit to stand trial or NCRMD "
Recommend admission to/release from care facilities & treatment "
Review Board usually comprises of:"
Lawyer "
Medical practitioner (e.g., psychiatrist) "
Layperson who has an interest in mental health issues "
Not all defendants found NCRMD will have had finding of unfit to stand trial (UST) "
Fitness to stand trial (FST) in Canada is the same as competency to stand trial (CST) in
U.S. "
Types of Criminal Legal Competencies
Competency to waive arrest
rights &/or confess
Before interrogation, police ocers must inform suspects of legal
rights (right to remain silent & right to free counsel) "
Suspects must be informed that anything they say may be used
against them "
In order to validly waive these rights, suspects must both
understand their rights (i.e., “I have the right to a lawyer.”) &
appreciate the meaning of that right (i.e., “A lawyer would
advocate for me.”)
Competency to waive counsel/
proceed pro se
Proceed pro se: w/out representation from a lawyer (i.e., act as
their own counsel during trial) "
Defendants must choose to waive right to counsel willfully & w/
full understanding & appreciation of this right
Competency to plead guilty
Must understand & appreciate nature of pleading guilty &
consequences associated w/ it (i.e., taking responsibility for a
crime & being convicted of that oence)
Types of Criminal Legal Competencies
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FST & issue of public respect for criminal justice system "
To use the full power of the court to try, convict & punish defendants who don’t
understand nature of legal proceedings against them undermines perceived legitimacy of
legal system "
Doesn’t seem fair, damages integrity of legal proceedings "
Prior to ’92, Canadian criminal law didn’t prescribe set of clear criteria for FST (relied on case
law) "
Bill C-30 enacted in ’92"
Significant changes to fitness determinations w/in Criminal Code
Criminal Code now explicitly defines persons who’re unfit to stand trial as those who are
unable on account of mental disorder to conduct a defence at any stage of the
proceedings before a verdict is rendered or to instruct counsel to do so, & in particular,
unable on account of mental disorder to (a) understand the nature & object of
proceedings, (b) understand possible consequences of proceedings, or, (c) communicate
w/ counsel "
Legal criteria for fitness refer to psychological state of defendant at time of trial
R. v. Taylor (’92): Dwight Taylor charged w/ aggravated assault & possession of a weapon for
a purpose dangerous to the public "
Suering from paranoid SZ & had been found unfit to stand trial for previous oences "
Court argued that his delusions were so pervasive & irrational that he was likely to
disagree w/ counsel & couldn’t perceive his own best interests "
Ontario Court of Appeal adopted limited cognitive capacity standard: accused doesn’t
need to be able to act in their own best interest, must only be able to demonstrate ability
to recount facts to allow lawyer to properly present case "
Accused is automatically presumed fit to stand trial unless court is satisfied on balance of
probabilities that they’re not "
Defence/court can raise issue of fitness at any stage of proceeding "
Fitness evaluation can be raised strategically "
E.g., used by either side to delay trial, gives lawyers more time to prepare "
Defence counsel cautious b/c defendants risk spending more time incarcerated "
E.g., prosecutors may use it to prevent defendant from being released on bail "
Fit to stand trial =/= robust mental health or even normal mental functioning (ppl w/ severe
mental disorders & intellectual disabilities are often judged fit to stand trial) "
Fitness assessment orders typically require that an assessment take no longer than 5d to
complete "
Courts can order assessments for up to 60d "
Often take much longer (18-21d) "
Criminal Code specifies that a medical practitioner (i.e., psychiatrist) must conduct court-
ordered assessments of fitness & criminal responsibility "
Psychologists may assist in process "
Evaluator assesses defendant’s mental capacities w/:"
Clinical interviews "
Competency to be sentenced
Must be able to understand why they’re being sentenced &
understand the sentence itself "
Incl. competency to be executed in U.S.
Competency to stand trial
Must have the mental state & capacity that allows them to
understand proceedings, appreciate possible consequences of
proceedings & communicate w/ lawyer
Types of Criminal Legal Competencies
Types of Criminal Legal Competencies
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