Incompetency to Stand Trial

by

Wafeeq Sabir, Ph.D

Incompetency to stand trial in Texas is an illusionary concept for many youth offenders. The intricacy of the law continues to generate amendments from lawmakers each session. So, if age should be considered a deficiency that influences competency and culpability, at what age should a youth offender be sufficiently competent to stand trial as an adult?


Texas Criminal (2005) states a person is incompetent to stand trial if the person does not have:
(1) sufficient present ability to consult with the person's lawyer with a reasonable degree of rational understanding; or
(2) a rational as well as factual understanding of the proceedings against the person.
(b) A defendant is presumed competent to stand trial and shall be found competent to stand trial unless proved incompetent by a preponderance of the evidence (pg.447).

However, an individual who has been determined through a hearing, to be mentally ill or retarded, may be committed to a mental facility or maximum security unit that houses mental defendants. It may be determined at a later date that the defendant is competent to stand trial after proper restorative treatments. If this is the premise that determines whether a juvenile is sufficiently competent to stand trial, then age will always be of a subjective opinion. Texas Criminal (2005) suggests that an individual 14 years of age or older can be certified to stand trial as an adult. Under Texas law, a 10-year old offender is deemed criminally responsible. Lawmakers assert that this is an appropriate age of competency.

References:
Texas criminal and traffic law manual (2005-2006 ed.). (2005). Charlottesville, VA: LexisNexis

9 comments:

Mirta Galvan said...

I think part of the blame for school violence is the parents. I think that parents should put some limits on what their children watch and and the types of video games they play. Parents should be aware of what type of games they buy for their children. This might cause many childern to become violent school.

Anonymous said...

if kids have a disfunctional family with violence they are going to grow up thinkin its ok to b violent with others. parents have to know how to teach their kids from right and wrong if not they will start learing alot of the things from outside the home. alot of the schools have some part of it to, if kids get picked on @ school the teachers and staff dont do anything about it thats when kds start growin grudges against others and thats when they start feelin the necessaty to get them back, if killin is the way to show that they are the boss well they re goin 2 do it. yanely garcia.

Tiffany said...

If age should be considered a deficiency that influences competency I believe at 13 years old a youth offender should be sufficiently competent to stand trail as an adult. I strongly believe is a kids is smart enough to shoot a person whether they take that persons life or not then they should be tried as an adult. I believe if kids aren't tried as adults and they know they won't be then they will already know the outcome and the consequences, as far as how much time they will get. Also I believe if kids aren't tried as adults they can be easily convinced to do certain crimes because they are subjected to less time for any crimes they commit.

steven vasquez said...

I don't believe that all 13 year olds, or for the most part, all children are on the same mental level. I ve known children at age 10 who were very mature and brite for their age. I've also known 17 year olds that acted as if they were 13 year olds. I believe it comes down to the indiviual child and their up bringing. Not every child is the same nor is every child raised the same. Therefore a child's competency or mental status should be determined on a case by case basis.

Clint Batten said...

Some of this lack of “control” is attributable to lawyers’ lack of familiarity with the standards of practice and ethical rules pertinent to psychiatry and psychology. While there are indeed many variables in any given case that lawyers cannot control, they can point out where mental health professions do not adhere to their own rules in conducting an assessment, in arriving at a diagnosis or opinion, or in offering courtroom testimony. Armed with some sense of how to define proper from improper practice in the mental health professions, lawyers can more effectively address the process and outcome of a competence assessment.

cabby1984 said...

I feel that to many inmates use this in their advantage by just acting stupid trying to get out of the graves that they have dug...Robert F

cabby1984 said...

I feel that to many inmates use this in their advantage by just acting stupid trying to get out of the graves that they have dug...I personally know someone whos son was murdered and the guy who committed the murder had his trial proloned for 5 years because he was playing the insaine role... finally he got prosucuted 6 moths ago.. Robert F

cabby1984 said...

I feel that to many inmates use this in their advantage by just acting stupid trying to get out of the graves that they have dug...I personally know someone whos son was murdered and the guy who committed the murder had his trial proloned for 5 years because he was playing the insaine role... finally he got prosucuted 6 moths ago.. Robert F

cabby1984 said...

I feel that to many inmates use this in their advantage by just acting stupid trying to get out of the graves that they have dug...I personally know someone whos son was murdered and the guy who committed the murder had his trial proloned for 5 years because he was playing the insaine role... finally he got prosucuted 6 moths ago.. Robert F