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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 135631 Find in a Library
Title: Burden of Proving Competence To Stand Trial: Due Process at the Limits of Adversarial Justice
Journal: Vanderbilt Law Review  Volume:45  Issue:1  Dated:(January 1992)  Pages:199-235
Author(s): B J Vernia
Date Published: 1992
Page Count: 37
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article analyzes the limitations that the due process clause places on States in the allocation of the burden of proof in competency hearings.
Abstract: The article first describes the histories of the competency requirement, the standard of competence to stand trial, and the procedures used in competency decisionmaking. It then examines in greater detail the development of the burden of proof in competency hearings and introduces the contemporary controversy over the allocation of the burden of proof. A review of People v. Medina, the most recent of the burden-of-proof court decisions, presents arguments for and against a constitutional prohibition against the allocation of the burden of proof to the defendant. The article assesses the arguments against a constitutional requirement that States bear the burden of proof and attempts to free competency jurisprudence from much of the confusing rhetoric that characterizes the case law. This is followed by a due-process analysis of the burden of proof and a discussion of the role of social values in the allocation of the risk of error between litigants in the criminal justice process. The article concludes that because of the value society places on competence, due process requires that the State bear the burden of proof in competency hearings. 246 footnotes
Main Term(s): Burden of proof; Competency to stand trial
Index Term(s): Right to Due Process
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