The mental health court in Los Angeles is being used as a punishment for defendants who want to take their cases to trial.
There are doctors on the state's payroll who will declare the "over-competent" competent. It's an incredibe outrage that lawyers should be aware of. I am a witness.
In this case the defendant was clearly competent. 2 prosecutors had a very public ex parte to have a judge pressured to declare a doubt when the defendant filed a traverse motion etc. Knowing full well they would lose at trial this was used as a scare tactic for the defendant to just take the plea of informal diversion and go away. The defendant has no history of anything but depression and no one has ever considered her as anything but very competent. Many are innocent and they are lucky. But mark my words- this is being used as a tactic and more lawyers need to be apprised of such things. Mr. Kaman you seem to be a rough unkind character. There is an outrage that went on and I wouldn't expect you to care.
Criminal Defense Attorney
I'm not sure what the outrage is. Mental health courts are used to help seriously disordered people. Here in SF you must have an Axis 1 psychological order to qualify for the program. If you don't no one can send you there.
If you are talking about competency proceedings under PC 1368 that is a different matter. No one should have to stand trial unless they are able to understand the proceedings and assist their lawyer in their defense.
3 found this helpful
1 lawyer agrees