Selected Competence-Related Rulings: Useful Lessons in Approaches To the Analysis of Competence to S

When researching the issue of competence to stand trial, attorneys will find only a few rulings containing enough detail to (1) supply useful information about judges’ views of the strengths and limitations of particular competence evidence or (2) point to what courts deem highly significant in arriving at a competence ruling. This fact is best illustrated by the U.S. Supreme Court’s one-page decision in Dusky v. United States, which sets forth definitions without other detail. A few rulings do set out some competence “red flags” and offer cautionary tales about the strengths and weaknesses of competence-related evidence. John Philipsborn shines a light on some of these helpful rulings.