Indiana v. Edwards

Amicus curiae brief of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in support of neither party.

Brief filed: 02/08/2008


Indiana v. Edwards

United States Supreme Court; Case No. 07-208

Prior Decision

Opinion below, 866 N.E.2d 252 (Ind. 2007)

Question Presented

May states adopt a higher standard for measuring competency to represent oneself at trial than for measuring competency to stand trial? Brief argues for a return to the common law competency standard, that if an unrepresented defendant is not able to present a reasoned defense due to mental infirmity then he is not competent. In the alternative, the Court should permit states to appoint an attorney to represent mentally-infirm defendants whose competency to stand trial is dependent upon the assistance of counsel. The Sixth Amendment right of self-representation is not absolute, and protecting the right to a fair trial of defendants who would be deemed incompetent under the common law standard is an appropriate reason for recognizing an exception to it.



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Kevin P. Martin, Abigail K. Hemani and Dahlia S. Fetouh, Goodwin Proctor LLP, Boston, MA.