Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Analysis shows which people most likely found incompetent to stand trial

Date:
February 25, 2011
Source:
American Psychological Association
Summary:
People found incompetent to stand trial are more likely to be unemployed, have been previously diagnosed with a psychotic disorder or have had psychiatric hospitalization, according to an analysis of 50 years of research.

People found incompetent to stand trial are more likely to be unemployed, have been previously diagnosed with a psychotic disorder or have had psychiatric hospitalization, according to an analysis of 50 years of research, published by the American Psychological Association.

Related Articles


"Competency to stand trial evaluations have been regarded as the most significant mental health inquiry pursued in the system of criminal law," said the paper's lead author, Gianni Pirelli, PhD, who conducted the research at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York and is presently on staff at Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital in New Jersey.

The paper, published in the APA journal Psychology, Public Policy and Law, examined results of 68 studies from 1967 to 2008 to help determine which variables are most closely related to findings of incompetency, as well as which measures are best to use in competency evaluations. Combined, the studies' participants totaled 26,139 individuals, with 6,428 found incompetent and 19,711 found competent. Only approximately half of the studies included female participants.

The current legal standard for competency to stand trial is based on a 1960 Supreme Court ruling in Dusky v. United States that determined a defendant is competent if "he has sufficient present ability to consult with his lawyer with a reasonable degree of rational understanding -- and whether he has a rational as well as factual understanding of the proceedings against him," the article states.

The paper analyzed comparisons among demographic, psychiatric and criminal variables for competent and incompetent defendants. It found that defendants diagnosed with a psychotic disorder were approximately eight times more likely to be found incompetent, and unemployed defendants were twice as likely to be found incompetent. The likelihood of being found incompetent was also double for defendants with a previous psychiatric hospitalization.

Additionally, in contrast to a competent defendant, those found to be incompetent were slightly older, predominantly non-white and unmarried, the research showed. Regarding similarities between competent and incompetent defendants, the study found the majority were male, had a prior arrest history, a current violent criminal charge and an average of about 10 years of education.

Competency test data "must be integrated with information obtained from clinical interviews, other relevant test data and observation/reports from collateral sources," the authors wrote. They emphasized the importance of competency evaluations and the risks if these evaluations are conducted poorly, including allowing an incompetent defendant to stand trial or violating a defendant's civil rights by temporarily committing him or her to a psychiatric facility.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Psychological Association. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Gianni Pirelli et al. A Meta-Analytic Review of Competency to Stand Trial Research. Psychology, Public Policy, & Law, Vol. 17, Issue 1

Cite This Page:

American Psychological Association. "Analysis shows which people most likely found incompetent to stand trial." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 February 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110224091611.htm>.
American Psychological Association. (2011, February 25). Analysis shows which people most likely found incompetent to stand trial. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110224091611.htm
American Psychological Association. "Analysis shows which people most likely found incompetent to stand trial." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110224091611.htm (accessed March 27, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, March 27, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

AAA: Distracted Driving a Serious Teen Problem

AAA: Distracted Driving a Serious Teen Problem

AP (Mar. 25, 2015) While distracted driving is not a new problem for teens, new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says it&apos;s much more serious than previously thought. (March 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smartphone Use Changing Our Brain and Thumb Interaction, Say Researchers

Smartphone Use Changing Our Brain and Thumb Interaction, Say Researchers

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 25, 2015) European researchers say our smartphone use offers scientists an ideal testing ground for human brain plasticity. Dr Ako Ghosh&apos;s team discovered that the brains and thumbs of smartphone users interact differently from those who use old-fashioned handsets. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Many Don't Know They Have Alzheimer's, But Their Doctors Do

Many Don't Know They Have Alzheimer's, But Their Doctors Do

Newsy (Mar. 24, 2015) According to a new study by the Alzheimer&apos;s Association, more than half of those who have the degenerative brain disease aren&apos;t told by their doctors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
A Quick 45-Minute Nap Can Improve Your Memory

A Quick 45-Minute Nap Can Improve Your Memory

Newsy (Mar. 23, 2015) Researchers found those who napped for 45 minutes to an hour before being tested on information recalled it five times better than those who didn&apos;t. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins