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Archive for the 'Judicial decisions' Category

Connecticut Supreme Court narrows mentally ill criminal defendant’s right to self-representation


The article in the Connecticut Law Tribune is password protected, but here’s the relevant part:

‘In light of Edwards, it is clear… that we are free to adopt for mentally ill or mentally incapacitated defendants who wish to represent themselves at trial a competency standard that differs from the standard for determining whether such a defendant is competent to stand trial,’ wrote Justice Richard N. Palmer, for the unanimous Connecticut Supreme Court.

‘We do not believe that a mentally ill or mentally incapacitated defendant who is competent to stand trial necessarily is also competent to represent himself at that trial,’ concluded Palmer.
Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Denise B. Smoker said it will be interesting to see how the trial courts apply the new standard adopted by the state Supreme Court. She explained that the new standard essentially allows judges to consider whether the defendant is competent enough to perform the skills needed to defend themselves, including composing questions for voir dire and witnesses.

The case will be reported in the Atlantic Reporter but doesn’t have a cite yet.  The Westlaw cite is 2009 WL 1941780.

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