Jared Lee Loughner Declared Mentally Incompetent

Not a shock to have read this earlier today. This is a topic I have a lot of interest in, because it deals with people’s rights, in particular those with mental illness. As I’ve said before, it is impossible to make a diagnosis just by reading articles in the media, but the implication of this court ruling is that likely Mr. Loughner has a psychotic disorder of some kind, perhaps schizophrenia. There are laws that can force medication in order to make someone competent enough to understand the court proceedings. Once the defendant is able to understand the court proceedings, he can assist in his own defense and trial. He can still plead “not guilty by reason of insanity.” Only 1% of all pleas use this defense, making it fairly rare, as well as difficult to win. Basically the question is whether the defendant could understand right from wrong at the time of the crime. This is a difficult question to answer, and a person can be evaluated by numerous psychiatrists and get that many diagnoses and assessments. Only time will tell what the outcome will be in this case; I know I’ll be following this to see what happens. What are your thoughts–is this a fair way for Mr. Loughner to get through the legal system?

Explore posts in the same categories: Forensic Psychiatry, General Mental Health, Psychiatry in the Media

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One Comment on “Jared Lee Loughner Declared Mentally Incompetent”

  1. brettbatten Says:

    I have navigated the Canadian system and I would not say it is a way to “get through” the legal system. It was a process I endured and would have gladly chosen to be dealt with as a regular criminal. Feel free to read my blog, specifically “Not Criminally Responsible: popular misconceptions and the burden of accusation.”

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