[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
Article
August 7, 1967

The Physician and the Law: Determination of Mental Competency to Stand Trial

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Forensic Psychiatry, Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans.

JAMA. 1967;201(6):343-346. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03130060017005
Abstract

Physicians and members of the legal profession who participate in lunacy or sanity hearings to determine a defendant's mental competency to stand trial can unwittingly interfere with due process of law. Four case histories illustrate situations in which this can occur. Failure to recognize the continuous but separated stages of criminal procedure (pretrial, trial, and post-trial) and attempts to resolve trial and post-trial issues at the pretrial stage are perhaps the most common reasons why some inequities do occur. More mutual involvement, interaction, and cross-education between the professions of medicine and law are needed to arrive at solutions to existing problems in these areas.

References
1.
McGarry, A.L.:  Competency for Trial and Due Process Via the State Hospital ,  Amer J Psychiat 122:623-630 ( (Dec) ) 1965.
2.
Slough, M.C., and Wilson, P.E.:  Mental Capacity to Stand Trial ,  Univ Pitt Law Rev 21:593-611 ( (June) ) 1960.
3.
Hess, J.H., Jr., and Thomas, H.E.:  Incompetency to Stand Trial: Procedures, Results, and Problems ,  Amer J Psychiat 119: 713-720 ( (Feb) ) 1963.
4.
Robey, A.:  Criteria for Competency to Stand Trial: A Checklist for Psychiatrists ,  Amer J Psychiat 122:616-622 ( (Dec) ) 1965.
5.
Engelhardt, D.M., et al:  Phenothiazines in Prevention of Psychiatric Hospitalization: IV. Delay or Prevention of Hospitalization—A Reevaluation ,  Arch Gen Psychiat 16:98-101 ( (Jan) ) 1967.Crossref
6.
Rittelmeyer, L.F., Jr.:  Ten Years of Tranquilizers ,  New Physician 14:89-92 ( (April) ) 1965.
7.
Schnore, M.M., and Kere, U.:  Length of Hospitalization Before and After Tranquillizers ,  Canad Psychiat Assoc J 9:43-45 ( (Feb) ) 1964.
8.
Dickel, H.A.:  The Impact of Tranquilizers on Medical Practice ,  J Neuropsychiat 5:438-439 ( (Sept) -Oct) 1964.
9.
Wolfe, H.E.:  Psychotropic Drug Provision During Aftercare in the United States ,  Int J Soc Psychiat 10:194-198 ( (summer) ) 1964.Crossref
10.
Brill, H., and Patton, R.E.:  Analysis of Population Reduction in New York State Mental Hospitals During the First Four Years of Large-Scale Therapy With Psychotropic Drugs ,  Amer J Psychiat 116:495-508 ( (Dec) ) 1959.
11.
Scrignar, C.B.:  Tranquilizers and the Psychotic Defendant ,  Amer Bar Assoc J 53:43-45 ( (Jan) ) 1967.
12.
Szasz, T.S.:  Psychiatric Justice , New York: The Macmillan Company, 1965.
×