Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Legal Eagles Legal Brief: The Case Of The Right Of The Defendant To Have A Psychiatric Competency Evaluation

“In Ake v. Oklahoma, the Court said: ‘When a State brings its judicial power to bear on an indigent defendant in a criminal proceeding, it must take steps to assure that the defendant has a fair opportunity to present his defense...Justice cannot be equal where, simply as a result of his poverty, a defendant is denied the opportunity to participate meaningfully in a judicial proceeding in which his liberty is at stake.” -From, “The Innocent Man” By: John Grisham

This ruling pertains to the mental state of the defendant. Ake v. Oklahoma is a legal precedent that ensures that a defendant has the right to have a psychiatric evaluation to determine their ability to competently stand trial. The state must provide the defendant with this evaluation, if the defendant requests it.

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