Final, Forensic Psychology Paper

Topics: Schizophrenia, Psychology, Psychiatry Pages: 7 (2318 words) Published: February 5, 2013
Final Project
Assessing Competency
The Edward Wilson Case
Kristen Fortin
Kaplan University

CJ233: Intro to Forensic Psychology
Professor Katia Araujo
Feb 4, 2013

Currently working in an Arizona State Mental Health Facility as a Forensic Psychologist, I have been recently given the task, court ordered by the judge to evaluate a patient’s competency to stand trial. His name is Edward Wilson. He is a 25 year old male with a history of mental illness, stemming from the age of seventeen. According to the police report found in Edwards file, on Feb 4, 2012 Edward was arrested and charged with killing both his parents. Edward has been at the facility for three months now and his previous records indicate that he possesses a low IQ as well as being mildly mentally challenged. Records state Edward has been hospitalized before due to a self inflicted gunshot to his mouth. He was diagnosed at the age of 19 with paranoid schizophrenia and placed on psychotropic medications after he had an unexpected outburst and physically as well as verbally attacked his younger sister without provocation. The medication seemed to stabilize his condition and mental status at the time. Since Edward has been at the facility he has stated that he believed several conspiracy theories in reference to his parents as well as the Mayor. He also states that as a teen he came across “the rock of creation” as he referred it, which possessed five different animal faces upon it, and thusly sent it to the Mayor. He also stated that he was not taking any of his psychotropic medications at the time of his parents’ murder. Edward does have a public defender who counseled with his for ten minutes at which time the public defender asked the judge to request a competency evaluation. Thusly, bringing Edward to this facility for competency restoration, evaluation, and into my care. I will evaluate this individual, assess his mental stability and inform the judge of my findings.

Defining Competency
Competency to Stand Trial requires that a defendant comprehends the nature and reason of the legal proceedings against him and be able to effectively and appropriately cooperate with the counsel in his defense. He must be able to comprehend the proceedings, as well as understand the charges against him and the penalties if found guilty.  He must also have some level of comprehension of courtroom procedure and the functions of those who participate in it.  Also, he must be able to cooperate with counsel, he must be able to competently discus a legal strategy with his counsel, be able to recall and relate pertinent facts and events, that actually occurred, including his motives and actions at the time of the offense, and be able to testify in his behalf and to challenge prosecution witnesses. The case of Dusky v. United States (1960) developed the foundation of, that in order to be able to be competent to stand trial a defendant has to possess adequate coherent ability to consult with his attorney within an acceptable degree of rational comprehension as well as a rational factual understanding of the proceedings before him and charges against him. This case set the current groundwork for adjudicative competence in the United States and now is the standard used in Federal Court.  The statutes addressing competency vary from state to state; however, the aspects defined in the Dusky v. United States decision are contained the infallible fact that the defendant must truly comprehend the charges against him and must have the mental capacity to assist his attorney in defending himself.

Edward Wilson
Given the amount of information in pertaining to Edward I would need to delve deeper into Edwards past, his up bringing and childhood as well as early teen life to gain a better perspective upon his background and if his mental issues began at an earlier age. I would need his past...
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