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.

"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 August 23, 2014 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 August 23, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) According to a new study, elderly people might have trouble sleeping because of the loss of a certain group of neurons in the brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) A new study found couples who had at least 150 guests at their weddings were more likely to report being happy in their marriages. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

AP (Aug. 20, 2014) Nine years after Hurricane Katrina, charter schools are the new reality of public education in New Orleans. The state of Louisiana took over most of the city's public schools after the killer storm in 2005. (Aug. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
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:
from the past week

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