Fourteenth Amendment - the standard of mental competency to waive constitutional rights versus the competency standard to stand trial.I. INTRODUCTION
In Godinez v. Moran Godinez v. Moran, 509 U.S. 389, 113 S.Ct. 2680, 125 L.Ed.2d 321 (1993) is a United States Supreme Court case that established that the competency standard for pleading guilty or waiving the right to counsel is the same as the competency standard for standing trial. ,(1) the United States Supreme Court United States Supreme Court: see Supreme Court, United States. held that due process does not require a higher competency standard for pleading guilty or waiving the right to an attorney than the standard for competency to stand trial. The Court first concluded that the decision to plead plead v. 1) in civil lawsuits and petitions, the filing of any document (pleading) including complaints, petitions, declarations, motions, and memoranda of points and authorities. guilty is no more difficult than the sum total of the many decisions required of a defendant who pleads not guilty during the course of a trial.(2) The Court then concluded that the decision to waive To intentionally or voluntarily relinquish a known right or engage in conduct warranting an inference that a right has been surrendered.
For example, an individual is said to waive the right to bring a tort action when he or she renounces the remedy provided by law for such counsel requires a mental capacity no higher than that required in the decision to waive the constitutional rights that a defendant forgoes when he elects to plead guilty.(3)
This Note argues that the Court correctly ruled that due process does not require a higher competency standard to waive constitutional rights than the competency standard to stand trial. This Note first argues that the Court properly declined to interpret earlier Supreme Court precedent, most notably Westbrook v. Arizona,(4) as compelling a defendant to show greater mental capacity to be deemed capable to waive constitutional rights than that capacity required to enable a defendant to stand trial. Second, this Note demonstrates that the Court's opinion is consistent with the advantages of, and policy justifications behind, the plea bargaining plea bargaining, negotiation in which a defendant agrees to plead guilty to a criminal charge in exchange for concessions by the prosecutor (representing the state). process. Third, this Note illustrates that the Court's decision is consistent with a defendant's Sixth Amendment right to self-representation, as recognized in Faretta v. California Faretta v. California, 422 U.S. 806 (1975), was a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States held that criminal defendants have a constitutional right to refuse counsel in state criminal proceedings. .(5) Finally, this Note examines the implications the Godinez opinion holds for future defendants' collateral challenges based on their alleged incompetency The lack of ability, knowledge, legal qualification, or fitness to discharge a required duty or professional obligation.
The term incompetency has several meanings in the law. to have waived their constitutional rights.
The Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment Fourteenth Amendment, addition to the U.S. Constitution, adopted 1868. The amendment comprises five sections. Section 1
Section 1 of the amendment declares that all persons born or naturalized in the United States are American citizens and citizens provides that no state shall "deprive de·prive
1. To take something from someone or something.
2. To keep from possessing or enjoying something. any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law."(6) This clause guarantees "the fundamental elements of fairness in a criminal trial" to defendants in state courts.(7) This guarantee of fundamental fairness requires that a defendant, in order to be subjected to any criminal proceedings, possess a satisfactory level of mental capacity to understand and comprehend the proceedings.(8) Once the trial court is convinced that the defendant satisfies this requisite level of competency, the defendant may be put to trial. This guarantee of fundamental fairness during criminal proceedings additionally incorporates those procedural safeguards enumerated This term is often used in law as equivalent to mentioned specifically, designated, or expressly named or granted; as in speaking of enumerated governmental powers, items of property, or articles in a tariff schedule. in the Bill of Rights that are "essential to a fair trial."(9) Included in these safeguards are the Fifth Amendment prohibition against compulsory self-incrimination and the Sixth Amendment right to the assistance of counsel.(10) Nevertheless, such constitutional rights may be waived by a defendant who is mentally competent to do so.(11) Until Godinez, the Supreme Court had never resolved a split in the federal circuits as to whether due process requires a competency standard to waive such constitutional rights that is higher than the competency standard to stand trial.
A. THE LEGAL STANDARD FOR COMPETENCY TO STAND TRIAL
Courts have long recognized that due process "prohibits the criminal prosecution of a defendant who is not competent to stand trial."(12) Generally, due process requires that a defendant, in order to undergo legal proceedings All actions that are authorized or sanctioned by law and instituted in a court or a tribunal for the acquisition of rights or the enforcement of remedies. , "have the capacity to understand the nature and object of the proceedings against him, to consult with counsel, and to assist in the preparation of his defense."(13) Trial courts have an affirmative duty to conduct an inquiry into a defendant's mental competency mental competency n. (See: competent) when, at any point in the proceedings, any "evidence raises a bona fide doubt as to a defendant's competence to stand trial."(14) Although a defendant's state of mental competency is difficult to assess and quantify,(15) in Dusky v. United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. ,(16) the United States Supreme Court enunciated a legal standard governing the minimum competency required of defendants before they may be put to trial. The Dusky Court held that "the test must be whether he has sufficient present ability to consult with his lawyer with a reasonable degree of rational understanding--and whether he has a rational as well as factual understanding of the proceedings against him."(17) This test has its origins in Youtsey v. United States,(18) in which the Sixth Circuit reversed a defendant's conviction because the district court never determined whether the defendant's epilepsy epilepsy, a chronic disorder of cerebral function characterized by periodic convulsive seizures. There are many conditions that have epileptic seizures. Sudden discharge of excess electrical activity, which can be either generalized (involving many areas of cells in had rendered him "incapable of understanding the proceedings, and intelligently advising with his counsel as to his defense."(19)
Courts and commentators have identified two main policies supporting the notion that due process prohibits the trial of incompetent incompetent adj. 1) referring to a person who is not able to manage his/her affairs due to mental deficiency (lack of I.Q., deterioration, illness or psychosis) or sometimes physical disability. defendants. First, the prohibition against the trial of incompetent defendants is "fundamental to an adversary system The Adversary System: Who Wins of justice."(20) Requiring that a criminal defendant be competent to stand trial reflects the concern for the accuracy and fairness of criminal judicial proceedings judicial proceedings n. any action by a judge re: trials, hearings, petitions, or other matters formally before the court. (See: judicial) .(21) A defendant who is not of a rational and sound mind may unintentionally fail to provide important information that might tend to reveal his innocence.(22) Moreover, a mentally deficient defendant may be unable to make basic decisions throughout the proceedings, such as how to plead and whether to dismiss counsel,(23) or an incompetent defendant may conduct himself in an irrational and inappropriate manner that disturbs the proceedings.(24) Also, the traditional justifications for criminal punishment--such as retribution RETRIBUTION. 1. That which is given to another to recompense him for what has been received from him; as a rent for the hire of a house. 2. A salary paid to a person for his services. 3. The distribution of rewards and punishments. and specific deterrence--require that a defendant understand why he is being punished.(25) Such understanding may be lost when a defendant cannot rationally comprehend the proceedings.(26)
Second, the prohibition against the trial of incompetent defendants is a derivative of the prohibition against trials in absentia in absentia (in ab-sensh-ee-ah) adj. or adv. phrase. Latin for "in absence," or more fully, in one's absence. Occasionally a criminal trial is conducted without the defendant being present when he/she walks out or escapes after the trial has begun, since the accused .(27) A defendant of unsound mind Adj. 1. of unsound mind - not of sound mind, memory, or understanding; in law, not competent to go to trial
non compos mentis
insane - afflicted with or characteristic of mental derangement; "was declared insane"; "insane laughter" , although present in body during the trial, may be absent from the trial as he is mentally incapable of presenting, comprehending, and participating in his defense.(28)
B. THE RIGHT TO WAIVE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS IN CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS
The Fifth and Sixth Amendments guarantee several rights to a defendant during a criminal trial. Included are the prohibition of compulsory self-incrimination,(29) the right to a jury trial,(30) the right to confront one's accusers,(31) and the right to assistance of counsel.(32) But even though these rights are guaranteed to all, a defendant may waive them.
For instance, the Sixth Amendment guarantees an accused in criminal prosecutions the right "to have the assistance of counsel for his defence."(33) This right to assistance of counsel is a fundamental right.(34) Therefore, when an indigent indigent 1) n. a person so poor and needy that he/she cannot provide the necessities of life (food, clothing, decent shelter) for himself/herself. 2) n. one without sufficient income to afford a lawyer for defense in a criminal case. defendant cannot afford an attorney, the judicial system is obligated to provide that defendant with legal representation.(35) The assistance of counsel is deemed necessary because the complex procedural and substantive safeguards in the law, which ensure fair trials, cannot be effective if the defendant is forced to stand trial without a defense counsel who has been educated to use them appropriately.(36)
A defendant may waive the right to counsel, however. In Faretta v. California,(37) the Supreme Court recognized that the fundamental right to assistance of counsel does not imply that a state may constitutionally force an unwilling defendant to accept representation that he does not want.(38) Rather, the Faretta Court inferred a right of self-representation from the structure of the Sixth Amendment.(39) According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. the Court, "[i]t is the accused, not counsel, who must be |informed of the nature and cause of the accusation,' who must be |confronted with the witnesses against him,' and who must be accorded |compulsory process The method employed by which a person wanted as a witness, or for some other purpose, in a civil or criminal action is forced to appear before the court hearing the proceeding. for obtaining witnesses in his favor."(40) The right to defend oneself, the Court noted, "is given directly to the accused; for it is he who suffers the consequences if the defense fails."(41) Since the Sixth Amendment speaks of the assistance of counsel, an attorney, however expert and versed Versed® Midazolam Pharmacology A preoperative sedative in the intricacies of the law, is merely an assistant to a criminal defendant.(42) To force representation on an unwilling defendant would transform counsel from the defendant's mere assistant to his master.(43) The fact that a defendant would likely present a more effective defense with the assistance of counsel does not matter since a defendant's technical legal knowledge is irrelevant "to an assessment of his knowing exercise of the right to defend himself."(44)
Likewise, the Fifth Amendment guarantees that "[n]o person shall ... be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself."(45) The Supreme Court, in holding the privilege against compulsory self-incrimination applicable to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment, has stated that "the privilege is one of the principles of a free government."(46) However, the Fifth Amendment does not imply that a defendant may never testify against himself; it merely guarantees that a defendant cannot be forced to do so.(47) A defendant will generally testify against himself after striking a plea bargain plea bargain n. in criminal procedure, a negotiation between the defendant and his attorney on one side and the prosecutor on the other, in which the defendant agrees to plead "guilty" or "no contest" to some crimes, in return for reduction of the severity of the deal with the prosecution, whereby the accused usually agrees to plead "guilty to a lesser offense or to only one or some of the counts of a multi-count indictment in return for a lighter sentence than that possible for the graver charge."(48) But by pleading guilty, not only does a defendant waive the privilege against compulsory self-incrimination; that defendant also simultaneously waives several other constitutional rights, including the right to trial by jury and the right to confront one's accusers.(49)
Until Santobello v. New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of ,(50) the constitutionality of plea bargaining arrangements was uncertain. The Santobello Court, in recognizing a defendant's right to plea bargain,(51) noted that plea bargaining is an "essential component of the administration of justice" that mutually benefits both the defendant and the state prosecution.(52) According to the Court, if every defendant were subjected to a criminal trial, "the States and Federal Government would need to multiply by many times the number of judges and court facilities."(53) For the accused defendant, plea bargaining "avoids much of the corrosive corrosive /cor·ro·sive/ (kor-o´siv) producing gradual destruction, as of a metal by electrochemical reaction or of the tissues by the action of a strong acid or alkali; an agent that so acts. impact of enforced idleness during pre-trial confinement con·fine·ment
1. The act of restricting or the state of being restricted in movement.
confinement for those who are denied release pending trial,"(54) reduces the public exposure and scrutiny a defendant must face while undergoing trial,(55) eliminates the practical burdens--both emotional and financial--for an accused in defending himself,(56) accelerates the inevitable conviction and correctional process of a defendant facing overwhelming evidence,(57) and enhances the rehabilitative re·ha·bil·i·tate
tr.v. re·ha·bil·i·tat·ed, re·ha·bil·i·tat·ing, re·ha·bil·i·tates
1. To restore to good health or useful life, as through therapy and education.
2. potential of the imprisonment Imprisonment
See also Isolation.
former federal maximum security penitentiary, near San Francisco; “escapeproof.” [Am. Hist.: Flexner, 218]
German prison ship in World War II. [Br. Hist. system "by shortening the time between charge and disposition."(58)
When a mentally competent defendant wishes to waive such constitutional rights, the trial court must make a detailed inquiry into whether that waiver is valid. The Supreme Court's jurisprudence jurisprudence (jr'ĭsprd`əns), study of the nature and the origin and development of law. , which has concentrated primarily on the right to counsel and the prohibition against compulsory self-incrimination, has set a high standard for a valid waiver of such constitutional guarantees. The Court has articulated three requirements of a waiver of such rights that must be met before the waiver may be accepted as valid:(59) the defendant's waiver must be voluntary,(60) it must be "intelligent and knowing,"(61) and the trial court record must demonstrate that the accused waived such rights voluntarily, knowingly, and intelligently.(62) This test applies to the waiver of many rights, including those of the Fifth and Sixth Amendments. The fundamental nature of the constitutional right to counsel imposes the serious protective duty on the trial court to determine whether a defendant's discharge of counsel is valid.(63) Similarly, a plea of guilty is considered a "grave and solemn" act because the defendant admits to having committed the acts of which he is accused and agrees to a conviction without a trial.(64) Accordingly, a petitioner who is incompetent to enter an intelligent plea may either withdraw the guilty plea(65) or collaterally attack the sentence or conviction.(66)
C. THE DISPUTE OVER THE REQUISITE STANDARD FOR COMPETENCY TO WAIVE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS
Although the Supreme Court has articulated standards to determine whether a defendant's waiver of constitutional rights is valid,(67) the Court had never defined the standard of mental competency by which a defendant is deemed capable to voluntarily and intelligently waive those rights until Godinez.(68) The tests for the validity of a waiver of constitutional rights assume that the defendant is competent to make a rational choice among various courses of action.(69) Before Godinez, Supreme Court jurisprudence was less than clear as to the degree of mental competency required before a defendant may make the decision to waive such constitutional rights.(70)
In Massey v. Moore,(71) the Court first acknowledged that the standard of competency required to stand trial without a lawyer might be higher than the standard required to stand trial with an advocate.(72) In Massey, the defendant repeatedly attempted to obtain habeas corpus relief in both federal and state courts, claiming that he had been unconstitutionally tried and convicted without benefit of counsel while insane.(73) The defendant was unsuccessful in each application because the court records falsely noted that he had been represented by an attorney.(74) When it learned of the error, the district court ruled, without stating any basis or reasoning for its decision, that the defendant's claim was without merit.(75)
On appeal, the Supreme Court held that the district court opinion was legally ambiguous since it did not clarify the basis of its finding and, hence, that the question of Massey's "ability to represent himself without counsel remain[ed] undetermined."(76) According to the Court in Massey, the district court ruling could be interpreted in two ways. First, it could mean that the particular evidence that supported the finding that Massey was competent to stand trial with counsel also sufficiently supported the independent conclusion that Massey was competent to stand trial without counsel.(77) Alternatively, the ruling could have meant that the issues of competency to stand trial with or without counsel required the same inquiry, with the evidence supporting a conclusion of competence to stand trial assisted by an attorney necessarily supporting a conclusion of competency to stand trial without representation.(78) Acknowledging that the issue of whether the requisite competency standard to stand trial without an attorney was higher than the standard to stand trial with an attorney was yet unsettled, the Massey Court noted that "[o]ne might not be insane in the sense of being incapable of standing trial and yet lack the capacity to stand trial without benefit of counsel."(79)
In Rees v. Peyton,(80) the Court addressed the issue of a defendant's competency to waive the right to appellate review. In Rees, a capital defendant wanted to withdraw his petition for certiorari certiorari
In law, a writ issued by a superior court for the reexamination of an action of a lower court. The writ of certiorari was originally a writ from England's Court of Queen's (King's) Bench to the judges of an inferior court; it was later expanded to include writs to the Supreme Court and forego further legal proceedings.(81) Rees' counsel advised the Court that he could not honor Rees' instructions without a psychiatric investigation since evidence indicated that Rees might not be mentally capable of making such a decision.(82) A psychiatrist selected by Rees' counsel examined Rees and filed a detailed report concluding that Rees was mentally incompetent.(83) State-selected psychiatrists, however, subsequently doubted that finding of insanity insanity, mental disorder of such severity as to render its victim incapable of managing his affairs or of conforming to social standards. Today, the term insanity is used chiefly in criminal law, to denote mental aberrations or defects that may relieve a person from .(84) As the district court had not made a factual determination as to Rees' mental condition in light of his desire to cease appealing his conviction,(85) the Rees Court could not determine how to dispose of To determine the fate of; to exercise the power of control over; to fix the condition, application, employment, etc. of; to direct or assign for a use.
See also: Dispose his petition.(86) Accordingly, the Court directed the district court to make the initial judicial determination into whether the defendant possessed the "capacity to appreciate his position and make a rational choice with respect to continuing or abandoning further litigation An action brought in court to enforce a particular right. The act or process of bringing a lawsuit in and of itself; a judicial contest; any dispute.
When a person begins a civil lawsuit, the person enters into a process called litigation. or on the other hand whether he is suffering from a mental disease, disorder, or defect which may substantially affect his capacity in the premises."(87)
The federal circuit courts that confronted this issue disagreed on whether the competency standard to waive counsel or plead guilty(88) is higher than, or equivalent to, the Dusky standard for standing trial. This conflict occurred due to different readings of the Supreme Court's holding in Westbrook v. Arizona.(89) In Westbrook, the defendant was convicted of first degree murder after discharging his counsel and conducting his own defense.(90) The trial court conducted a hearing regarding his competence to stand trial, but not his competence to waive his right to counsel and to conduct his own defense.(91) Noting that the fundamental nature of the right to counsel places a protective duty on the court to determine whether the accused waived this right intelligently and competently,(92) the Court, with no discussion of the actual trial record, remanded the case for further proceedings to determine whether these protecting duties, enunciated in Johnson v. Zerbst In the 1938 case of Johnson v. Zerbst (304 U.S. 458), the petitioner, Johnson, had been convicted in federal court of feloniously possessing, uttering, and passing counterfeit money in a trial where he had not been represented by an attorney but instead by himself. (93) and Carnley v. Cochran,(94) had been fulfilled.(95)
The Ninth Circuit and District of Columbia District of Columbia, federal district (2000 pop. 572,059, a 5.7% decrease in population since the 1990 census), 69 sq mi (179 sq km), on the east bank of the Potomac River, coextensive with the city of Washington, D.C. (the capital of the United States). Circuit employed a heightened standard for evaluating a defendant's competency to enter a guilty plea. In Sieling v. Eyman,(96) the Ninth Circuit inferred from Westbrook that a determination of competency to stand trial is inadequate to evaluate competency to plead guilty.(97) In Sieling, a convict To adjudge an accused person guilty of a crime at the conclusion of a criminal prosecution, or after the entry of a plea of guilty or a plea of nolo contendere. An individual who has been found guilty of a crime and, as a result, is serving a sentence as punishment for the act; , who had pleaded guilty at trial, petitioned for a writ of habeas corpus Noun 1. writ of habeas corpus - a writ ordering a prisoner to be brought before a judge
judicial writ, writ - (law) a legal document issued by a court or judicial officer on the theory that his mental incompetence in·com·pe·tence or in·com·pe·ten·cy
1. The quality of being incompetent or incapable of performing a function, as the failure of the cardiac valves to close properly.
2. invalidated in·val·i·date
tr.v. in·val·i·dat·ed, in·val·i·dat·ing, in·val·i·dates
To make invalid; nullify.
in·val his guilty pleas.(98) Although originally found competent to stand trial, the defendant argued that because his competency to plead guilty had not been raised, the trial court never ruled on the issue.(99) The Steling court agreed with this argument, citing the fact that the Westbrook Court had remanded the case for "further inquiry into the issue of [the defendant's] competence to waive his constitutional right to the assistance of counsel" after the state court had concluded that the defendant was mentally competent to stand trial.(100) The Sieling court reasoned from this that a determination of competency to stand trial is inadequate to imply competency to plead guilty because it does not measure a defendant's mental capacity by a high enough standard.(101) The Ninth Circuit concluded that although Westbrook did not enunciate a specific standard, it was reasonable that the standard to waive a constitutional right was that "degree [of competence] which enables [the defendant] to make decisions of very serious import."(102) The court then held that a defendant must have the mental capacity to "make a reasoned choice among the alternatives presented to him and to understand the nature of the consequences of his plea."(103) The court believed this standard to be appropriate because it "requires a court to assess a defendant's competency with specific reference to the gravity of the decisions with which the defendant is faced."(104) The District of Columbia later adopted the Sieling standard, with little actual discussion or explanation, in United States v. Masthers.(105)
Every other circuit, by contrast, has applied the Dusky standard to evaluate a defendant's competency to enter a guilty plea. Several of these circuits rejected the Ninth Circuit's rule requiring a heightened standard of mental competency for the entry of a guilty plea, although each opinion provides little explanation beyond the mere assertion that there is no logical reason for a conclusion that the standards should be different.(106) The remaining circuits, in cases in which the applicable legal standard was not in dispute, simply applied the Dusky standard in evaluating a defendant's competency to enter a guilty plea.(107)
Several circuits have struggled to interpret the Westbrook holding as it pertains to the competency standard required for a defendant to be capable of discharging counsel. The Second, Sixth, and Eighth Circuits, each applied the Dusky standard in the context of guilty pleas, but indicated that the competency standard for waiving the right to counsel is "vaguely higher" than, or "not coextensive co·ex·ten·sive
Having the same limits, boundaries, or scope.
coex·ten " with, the competency standard for standing trial.(108) The First Circuit, which also applied Dusky in the context of guilty pleas, noted that the two standards "may not always be coterminous co·ter·mi·nous
Variant of conterminous.
Adj. 1. coterminous - being of equal extent or scope or duration
coextensive, conterminous ."(109) Only the Ninth Circuit has applied the Sieling "reasoned choice" standard to waivers of counsel.(110) The Seventh Circuit alone has held that the competency standards for standing trial and waiving counsel are identical,(111) while the Fourth Circuit noted that the two standards are "closely linked."(112) The Supreme Court noted this division in the circuits and granted certiorari to resolve the issue of whether the competency standard to discharge counsel or plead guilty is higher than the standard to stand trial.(113)
III. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
On August 2, 1984, Richard Allen Moran entered a saloon and killed the bartender and a patron by shooting each four times.(114) Moran then removed the cash register(115) and set fires in several locations within the saloon.(116) Nine days later, he shot and killed his ex-wife at her apartment, hitting her with five of the seven shots he fired.(117) Moran then shot himself in the abdomen and slit his wrists.(118) On August 13, 1984, while hospitalized for his suicide attempt suicide attempt, suicide bid n → intento de suicidio
suicide attempt, suicide bid n → tentative f de suicide
, he confessed to the murders.(119)
Later, after Moran pleaded not guilty to the three charges of murder in the first degree, the trial court ordered that two psychiatrists examine his fitness to stand trial.(120) Although these psychiatrists determined that Moran was "very depressed," felt "considerable remorse Remorse
See also Regret.
Ayenbite of Inwit (Remorse of Conscience)
Middle English version of medieval moral treatise, c. 1340. [Br. Lit. and guilt" for his actions, and "may be inclined to exert less effort towards his own defense," they concluded that he was fit to stand trial since he was "knowledgeable of the charges being made against him and [could] assist his attorney, in his own defense, if he so desire[d]."(121) The State then announced that it would seek the death penalty against Moran.(122)
Two and one-half months later, on November 28, 1984, Moran informed the court that he wished to plead guilty and discharge his attorney so as "to prevent the presentation of any mitigating evidence at his sentencing."(123) Based solely upon the original psychiatric reports submitted two and one-half months earlier, which had examined Moran's competency to stand trial, the trial court concluded that Moran was competent to plead guilty and discharge his attorney.(124) Specifically, the court found that Moran knew the nature of the acts he had committed and could determine right from wrong, that he understood the charges against him and could assist in his defense, that he recognized the consequences of his guilty pleas, and that he could intelligently and knowingly waive his right to be represented by counsel.(125) The trial court then posed a series of routine questions concerning Moran's understanding of his legal rights, advised him of his right to legal counsel, "warned him of the |dangers and disadvantages' of self-representation, inquired into his understanding of the proceedings . . ., and asked why he had chosen to represent himself."(126) To this inquiry, Moran gave "largely monosyllabic answers."(127) The trial court then accepted Moran's waiver of counsel as valid, explicitly finding that he "was |knowingly and intelligently' waiving his right to counsel."(128) After determining that Moran "was not pleading guilty in response to threats . . ., that he understood the nature of the charges ... and consequences of pleading guilty, that he was aware of the [constitutional] rights he was giving up, and that there was a factual basis for the pleas," the court also accepted Moran's guilty pleas as "freely and voluntarily" given.(129)
The trial court also inquired as to whether Moran was "presently under the influence of any drug or alcohol," to which Moran responded, "[j]ust what they give me in, you know, medications."(130) At the time, Moran was being administered simultaneously four types of medications--phenobarbital, dilantin, inderal, and vistaril.(131) Later testimony revealed that the drugs had a "numbing numb
adj. numb·er, numb·est
1. Deprived of the power to feel or move normally; benumbed: toes numb with cold; too numb with fear to cry out.
2. effect" on Moran; he stated that he did not care about the proceedings or anything else that was going on.(132) The trial court, however, made no further inquiry or investigation into either the dosages or the type of medication Moran was taking.(133)
After Moran entered his guilty pleas, he was sentenced to death for each of the murders by a three judge panel on January 21, 1985.(134) The Supreme Court of Nevada The Supreme Court of Nevada is the highest judicial body in the Nevada state government. This is an elected position. The Chief Justice is elected by the members of the court each year. affirmed the death sentences for the two saloon murders, but reversed the death sentence for the murder of Moran's ex-wife.(135) For that murder, the Nevada court instead imposed a life sentence and denied the possibility of parole.(136)
Moran then petitioned the state court for post-conviction relief.(137) The trial court reviewed the evidence and rejected Moran's argument that his mental incompetence precluded his self-representation.(138) The court ruled that "the record clearly show[ed] that he was examined by two psychiatrists both of whom declared [him] competent."(139) The Supreme Court of Nevada dismissed Moran's subsequent appeal(140) and the United States Supreme Court denied certiorari.(141)
Moran subsequently filed for habeas corpus review in the United States District Court for the District of Nevada The United States District Court for the District of Nevada is the Federal district court whose jurisdiction is the state of Nevada. The court has locations in Las Vegas and Reno. . The district court denied the petition.(142) The Ninth Circuit reversed, stating that the "record in this case should have led the trial court to entertai[n] a good faith doubt about [respondent's] competency to make a voluntary, knowing, and intelligent waiver of constitutional rights."(143) Therefore, the Ninth Circuit concluded that "[d]ue process ... required the court to hold [an additional] hearing to evaluate . . . Moran's competency to waive [his] constitutional rights before it accepted his decision to discharge counsel and [plead guilty]."(144)
The State additionally argued that any possible error by the trial court at the plea hearing was corrected by the post-conviction hearing(145) and that the state court's competency hearing was entitled to the deference given state court findings of fact findings of fact n. (See: finding) on habeas review.(146) The Ninth Circuit rejected these arguments, stating that the state court's postconviction ruling was premised on the wrong legal standard of competency."(147) Competency to waive constitutional rights," in the Ninth Circuit's view, "require[d] a higher level of mental functioning than that required to stand trial."(148) The court stated that competency to stand trial requires only that a defendant have "a rational and factual understanding of the proceedings and . . . [be] capable of assisting his counsel," while the competency to waive counsel or plead guilty requires that a defendant have "the capacity for |reasoned choice' among the alternatives available to him."(149) Furthermore, the court held that "the record did not support a finding that [Moran] was mentally capable of the reasoned choice required for a valid waiver of constitutional rights."(150) Accordingly, the Ninth Circuit reversed the district court, granting it sixty days within which to issue the habeas writ unless the state court, in that time, allowed Moran "to withdraw his guilty pleas, enter new pleas, and proceed to trial with the assistance of counsel."(151)
The state petitioned for a writ of certiorari Noun 1. writ of certiorari - a common law writ issued by a superior court to one of inferior jurisdiction demanding the record of a particular case
judicial writ, writ - (law) a legal document issued by a court or judicial officer to the Supreme Court of the United States Supreme Court of the United States
Final court of appeal in the U.S. judicial system and final interpreter of the Constitution of the United States. The Supreme Court was created by the Constitutional Convention of 1787 as the head of a federal court system, though it was , which granted the writ to resolve the conflict over whether due process requires a higher degree of mental competence for pleading guilty or waiving the right to an attorney than that degree of mental competence necessary to stand trial.(152)
IV. THE SUPREME COURT OPINIONS
A. THE MAJORITY OPINION
Justice Thomas, writing for the majority,(153) began by noting that the distinction between the "rational understanding" standard of Dusky and the Ninth Circuit's "reasoned choice" standard was "not readily apparent."(154) Even assuming, arguendo, that a distinction exists, Justice Thomas held that due process does not require either a different or a higher competency standard to plead guilty or waive counsel than that to stand trial.(155)
1. The Requisite Competency Standard to Plead Guilty
Justice Thomas approached the competency standards to plead guilty and waive counsel separately. Examining the standard to plead guilty, the Court noted that "[a] defendant who stands trial is likely to be presented with choices that entail relinquishment RELINQUISHMENT, practice. A forsaking, abandoning, or giving over a right; for example, a plaintiff may relinquish a bad count in a declaration, and proceed on the good: a man may relinquish a part of his claim in order to give a court jurisdiction. of the same rights that are relinquished re·lin·quish
tr.v. re·lin·quished, re·lin·quish·ing, re·lin·quish·es
1. To retire from; give up or abandon.
2. To put aside or desist from (something practiced, professed, or intended).
3. by a defendant who pleads guilty."(156) These rights include a waiver of the privilege against self-incrimination The privilege against self-incrimination forbids the government from compelling any person to give testimonial evidence that would likely incriminate him or her during a subsequent criminal case. should the defendant elect to take the witness stand, a waiver of the right to confront one's accusers should the defendant decline to cross-examine the prosecution's witnesses, and a waiver of the right to trial by jury.(157) Justice Thomas stated that "while the decision to plead guilty is undeniably a profound one, it is no more complicated than the sum total of decisions that a defendant may be called upon to make during the course of a trial."(158) Therefore, the Court saw no reason to elevate el·e·vate
tr.v. ele·vat·ed, ele·vat·ing, ele·vates
1. To move (something) to a higher place or position from a lower one; lift.
2. To increase the amplitude, intensity, or volume of.
3. the standard of competency for pleading guilty.
2. The Requisite Competency Standard to Discharge Counsel
Addressing the standard to discharge counsel, Justice Thomas noted that "there is no reason to believe that the decision to waive counsel requires an appreciably ap·pre·cia·ble
Possible to estimate, measure, or perceive: appreciable changes in temperature. See Synonyms at perceptible. higher level of mental functioning than the decision to waive other constitutional rights."(159) Moran argued that a defendant who represents himself must have greater powers of reasoning and intelligence than would be necessary for one who is tried with the aid of counsel.(160) Justice Thomas countered by simply noting that the competence required is the competence to waive the right to counsel, not the technical capacity to represent oneself(161) According to Justice Thomas, a defendant's "technical legal knowledge" is "not relevant" to whether he is competent to choose self-representation.(162) Therefore, although a defendant would be better able to present a defense with counsel assisting him than equipped solely with his own untrained legal skills, the Court did not believe this was adequate reason to elevate the standard of competency to waive counsel.(163)
3. The Additional Requirement Of a "Knowing and Voluntary" Waiver
Justice Thomas then added that, once a trial court determines that a defendant is competent to waive counsel and plead guilty, the court must additionally inquire into whether the defendant's waiver of these rights was indeed "knowing and voluntary."(164) "In this sense," according to Justice Thomas, "there is a heightened standard for pleading guilty and for waiving the right to counsel, but it is not a heightened standard of competence."(165) Justice Thomas explained that Westbrook follows this two-part inquiry.(166) He noted that when Westbrook "distinguished between |competence to stand trial' and |competence to waive [the] constitutional right to assistance of counsel,' we were using |competence to waive' as a shorthand for the |intelligent and competent waiver' requirement of Johnson v. Zerbst."(167) Therefore, Justice Thomas made it clear that a defendant must be competent to waive counsel or plead guilty and the competent defendant's waiver of these constitutional rights must be intelligent and voluntary before the court can accept it as valid.(168)
In conclusion, Justice Thomas stated that, although "psychiatrists . . . may find it useful to classify the various . . . degrees of [mental] competence, and while states are free to adopt competency standards that are more elaborate than the Dushy formulation, the Due Process Clause does not impose these additional requirements."(169)
B. THE CONCURRING OPINION Noun 1. concurring opinion - an opinion that agrees with the court's disposition of the case but is written to express a particular judge's reasoning
judgement, legal opinion, opinion, judgment - the legal document stating the reasons for a judicial decision;
Justice Kennedy(170) concurred in part and concurred in the judgment. Justice Kennedy observed that the Court, by comparing the decisions that must be made by a defendant who stands trial with those made by a defendant who pleads guilty and waives counsel, "seems to suggest that there may have been a heightened standard of competency required by the Due Process Clause if the decisions were not equivalent."(171) Even if the decisions were not equivalent, Justice Kennedy would still conclude that due process does not require a heightened standard of competency.
Justice Kennedy criticized the Ninth Circuit for reading the Dusky articulation articulation
In phonetics, the shaping of the vocal tract (larynx, pharynx, and oral and nasal cavities) by positioning mobile organs (such as the tongue) relative to other parts that may be rigid (such as the hard palate) and thus modifying the airstream to produce speech of "|competency to stand trial' in too narrow a fashion."(172) "Although the Dusky standard refer[red] to the |ability to consult with [a]lawyer,'" Justice Kennedy noted that the critical aspect of the Dusky inquiry is whether the defendant possesses "a reasonable degree of rational understanding."(173) According to Justice Kennedy, "the focus of the Dusky formulation is on a particular level of mental functioning, which the ability to consult with counsel helps identify."(174) Whether a defendant actually consults with an attorney is not necessary "for the standard to serve its purpose."(175)
Justice Kennedy then examined eighteenth and nineteenth century American and English common law. Justice Kennedy found no precedent for the rule that due process mandates distinct standards of competency for different decisions during, or at different stages throughout, criminal proceedings.(176) Justice Kennedy argued that since Nevada's use of a single standard did not "|offend some principle of justice so rooted in the traditions and conscience of our people as to be ranked as fundamental,'" he would not overturn its use.(177)
Each case surveyed by Justice Kennedy evaluated the competency of defendants, who claimed to be insane, to proceed through the various stages of a trial. According to Justice Kennedy, these cases either "referred to insanity in a manner that suggested there was a single standard by which competency was to be assessed throughout legal proceedings"(178) or "describe[d] the standard by which competency is to be measured in a way that supports the idea that a single standard, parallel to that articulated in Dusky, is applied no matter what point during legal proceedings a competency question should arise."(179) The concurrence CONCURRENCE, French law. The equality of rights, or privilege which several persons-have over the same thing; as, for example, the right which two judgment creditors, Whose judgments were rendered at the same time, have to be paid out of the proceeds of real estate bound by them. Dict. de Jur. h.t. thus determined that the common law did not "apply different competency standards to different stages of criminal proceedings or to the variety of decisions that a defendant must make."(180)
Justice Kennedy then illustrated the difficulties that the application of different competency standards might cause during criminal prosecutions. Initially, a trial court would have difficulty determining exactly which standard to apply at a given point in the proceedings.(181) Once the appropriate standard is selected, a trial court would have trouble applying the subtle nuances that distinguish one standard from another.(182)
Lastly, Justice Kennedy noted that "trial courts have the obligation of conducting a hearing whenever there is sufficient doubt concerning a defendant's competence."(183) However, the use of a single standard throughout the course of a trial to evaluate that competence does not offend any fundamental principles of Justice.(184)
C. THE DISSENTING OPINION dissenting opinion n. (See: dissent)
Justice Blackmun(185) opened by criticizing the practical results of the majority's opinion. He pointed out that "the majority upholds the death sentence for a person whose decision to discharge counsel, plead guilty, and present no defense well may have been the product of medication or mental illness."(186) The dissent called this result "contrary to both common sense and longstanding case law."(187)
Justice Blackmun argued that the "standard for competence to stand trial is specifically designed to measure a defendant's ability to consult with counsel and to assist in preparing his defense."(188) According to the dissent, "[t]he reliability or ... relevance of such a finding vanishes when its basic premise--that counsel will be present--ceases to exist."(189) Justice Blackmun disagreed with the majority's premise that a "defendant who is found competent to stand trial with the assistance of counsel is, ipso facto [Latin, By the fact itself; by the mere fact.]
ipso facto (ip-soh-fact-toe) prep. Latin for "by the fact itself." An expression more popular with comedians imitating lawyers than with lawyers themselves. , competent to discharge counsel and represent himself."(190) In Justice Blackmun's view, competency for one purpose does not imply competency for another.(191) Justice Blackmun opined that competency evaluations should be "specifically tailored to the context and purpose of a proceeding."(192)
Justice Blackmun relied on the earlier precedents of Massey and Westbrook to support his position. In Massey, the Court stated that [o]ne might not be insane in the sense of being incapable of standing trial and yet lack the capacity to stand trial without the benefit of counsel."(193) Similarly, in Westbrook, the Court held that "[a]lthough petitioner received a hearing on the issue of his competence to stand trial, there appears to have been no ... inquiry into the issue of his competence to waive his constitutional right to the assistance of counsel and to proceed, as he did, to conduct his own defense."(194) Justice Blackmun cited these cases as evidence that the competency standard to waive counsel may be higher than the standard to stand trial.
Justice Blackmun then analogized the present case to Rees, which, in his opinion, hints at the "contours" of the competency standard for self-representation.(195) Justice Blackmun reasoned that "[c]ertainly the competency required for a capital defendant to proceed without the advice of counsel at trial or in plea negotiations should be no less than the competency required for a capital defendant to proceed against the advice of counsel to withdraw a petition for certiorari."(196) He then noted that the "rational choice" standard in Rees approximates the Ninth Circuit's "reasoned choice" standard in the present case.(197)
Justice Blackmun criticized the majority for overruling o·ver·rule
tr.v. o·ver·ruled, o·ver·rul·ing, o·ver·rules
a. To disallow the action or arguments of, especially by virtue of higher authority: Westbrook and Massey, sub silentio [Latin, Under silence; without any notice being taken.]
Passing a thing sub silentio may be evidence of consent.
SUB SILENTIO. Under silence, without any notice being taken. Sometimes passing a thing sub silentio is evidence of consent. See Silence. , by extrapolating from the constitutional right of self-representation the proposition that "a criminal defendant's ability to represent himself has no bearing upon his competence to choose self-representation."(198) Although a defendant need not have the experience of an attorney, the Faretta right to self-representation is available only to those who can choose it "competently and intelligently."(199) According to Justice Blackmun, "[t]he majority's attempt to extricate the competence to waive the right to counsel from the competence to represent oneself is unavailing, because the former decision necessarily entails the latter."(200)
Justice Blackmun then demonstrated that Moran's waiver of counsel and his guilty plea were neither competent nor intelligent. The dissent noted that the psychiatrist's report showed Moran suffered from "deep depression" and that Moran's own testimony showed he was simultaneously taking four prescription medications.(201) Based on this evidence, Justice Blackmun believed "the trial judge should have conducted another competency examination."(202)
The Godinez Court settled an important constitutional criminal procedural issue that had confused, confounded, and divided the federal courts since 1966, the year the Supreme Court issued the two-paragraph Westbrook v. Arizona(203) decision.(204) The Godinez Court's holding--that due process does not require a heightened competency standard to waive constitutional rights above the standard to stand trial--provides a clearer interpretation of Westbrook than the Ninth Circuit's decision in Sieling v. Eyman(205) and is consistent with the elusive and oft-misinterpreted Massey v. Moore(206) and Rees v. Peyton(207) decisions. Godinez also comports both with the policy considerations supporting a defendant's right to plea bargain and the right to self-representation implicit in Adj. 1. implicit in - in the nature of something though not readily apparent; "shortcomings inherent in our approach"; "an underlying meaning"
underlying, inherent the Sixth Amendment.
A. THE COURT CORRECTLY DECLINED TO IMPLY FROM EARLIER PRECEDENT THAT DUE PROCESS REQUIRES A HIGHER COMPETENCY STANDARD TO WAIVE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS THAN THE COMPETENCY STANDARD TO STAND TRIAL
The Court correctly rejected the Ninth Circuit's Sieling logic,(208) which concluded that Westbrook requires an additional inquiry, using a higher competency standard than Dusky v. United States,(209) to evaluate a defendant's mental capacity to discharge counsel or enter a guilty plea. The Ninth Circuit, like the dissent(210) and various commentators,(211) made much of the fact that the Westbrook Court remanded the case for further inquiry into the accused's waiver of the right to counsel, even though the accused had already received a hearing regarding his competence to stand trial. The Ninth Circuit saw this as evidence that a determination of competency to stand
trial is inadequate to imply competency to waive constitutional rights.
Noting its serious protecting duty to ensure that a waiver is "intelligent and competent,"(212) the Westbrook Court remanded to ensure that this protecting duty was fulfilled. One might interpret this remand To send back.
A higher court may remand a case to a lower court so that the lower court will take a certain action ordered by the higher court. A prisoner who is remanded into custody is sent back to prison subsequent to a Preliminary Hearing before a tribunal or magistrate , as did the Ninth Circuit, as equating competence to waive with "intelligen[ce] and know[ledge]"; that is, in order for a waiver of counsel to be intelligent and knowing, there must be a further inquiry into mental competence beyond the original inquiry into competence to stand trial. The key to interpreting Westbrook, however, is to identify the particular issue that the Court remanded for "further inquiry": "was the defendant competent to waive counsel?" or "did the presumably pre·sum·a·ble
That can be presumed or taken for granted; reasonable as a supposition: presumable causes of the disaster. competent defendant make a valid waiver in light of the three-prong inquiry of the Johnson v. Zerbst(213) progeny PROGENY - 1961. Report generator for UNIVAX SS90. ?" That the Westbrook Court remanded the case for the latter--for inquiry into whether the waiver was valid, rather than for inquiry into the accused's competence to waive counsel--was effectively illustrated by the Godinez Court. Godinez makes clear that although Westbrook distinguished "competence to stand trial" from competence to waive [the] constitutional right to assistance of counsel," Westbrook intended to use "competence to waive" as a shorthand for the "intelligent and knowing" requirement of Johnson.(214) Godinez was certain of its Westbrook interpretation since that opinion quoted the Johnson language "immediately after noting that the trial court had not determined whether the [defendant] was "competent to waive his right to counsel."(215) Thus, as Godinez reveals, Westbrook involved only the question of the validity of a waiver and not the issue of a defendant's competency to waive the right to an attorney.
The Godinez opinion is also consistent with Massey and Rees. The dissent and at least two academic commentators(216) misinterpret mis·in·ter·pret
tr.v. mis·in·ter·pret·ed, mis·in·ter·pret·ing, mis·in·ter·prets
1. To interpret inaccurately.
2. To explain inaccurately. the statement in Massey that a defendant "might not be insane in the sense of being incapable of standing trial and yet lack the capacity to stand trial without benefit of counsel."(217) Justice Blackmun, in dissent, cited this phrase for the notion that competency for one purpose does not necessarily imply competency for another.(218) Such an interpretation, however, takes Massey out of context. As noted, in making this statement the Massey Court was not concluding that the competency standards to waive constitutional rights and to stand trial are necessarily different as a matter of law; it was merely suggesting that a difference may exist.(219) Thus, the Massey Court did not enunciate a legal standard. Rather, it acknowledged that the question of whether the standards are the same was as yet unsettled. The Godinez holding resolves this previously undecided issue.
The dissent also incorrectly interprets Rees as requiring a heightened standard of competency.(220) Although the Rees Court spoke of a defendant's capacity to make a "rational choice,"(221) which the dissent equated to the Ninth Circuit's "reasoned choice" standard, the Rees Court gave absolutely no indication that it intended to formulate and utilize a competency standard in this situation that was higher than the Dusky "rational and factual understanding" standard.(222) One would think that if the Rees Court really intended to formulate a higher standard of mental competency in this situation, the Court would have explicitly explained that it was doing so. In this regard, one would have expected the Rees Court, as did the Ninth Circuit in Sieling, to state that "reasoned choice" requires a greater mental capacity than the Dusky "rational and factual understanding" standard. Godinez aptly describes the similarity between these terms by stating that "how this [|reasoned choice' standard is different from (much less higher than) the Dusky standard . . . is not readily apparent to US."(223)
It follows that when the Rees Court spoke of determining mental competence "in the present posture of things,"(224) the Court meant "in light of any current factual developments concerning the defendant's mental health," not "in light of a higher competency standard now that the defendant is trying to forego further appeals as opposed to merely standing trial." The Rees Court simply could not determine whether to allow the defendant to withdraw his petition for certiorari because the district court had not yet had the occasion to make a judicial determination as to his mental condition "in the present posture of things." Thus, the Court was merely remanding the case for a determination of whether the defendant was competent to withdraw his petition for certiorari, in light of all current factual developments regarding his mental health, without giving any direction to the lower court to employ a heightened standard.
B. THE COURT'S OPINION COMPORTS WITH THE POLICY CONSIDERATIONS UNDERLYING THE PLEA BARGAINING P
A defendant who pleads guilty waives the Fifth Amendment prohibition against compulsory self-incrimination. In fact, a defendant who pleads guilty does more than present evidence against himself--he consents to the entry of a guilty plea. The trial court or jury does not need to examine or weigh any evidence; it only has to enter judgment and declare sentence.(225) Nonetheless, the Court correctly held that due process does not require a standard of mental competency to plead guilty that is higher than that standard of competency required of a defendant before he may be prosecuted. Although the entry of a guilty plea is a bold step, the Godinez Court explained that a defendant who elects to plead not guilty often is presented with similar choices involving the relinquishment of other constitutional rights.(226) These rights, delineated de·lin·e·ate
tr.v. de·lin·e·at·ed, de·lin·e·at·ing, de·lin·e·ates
1. To draw or trace the outline of; sketch out.
2. To represent pictorially; depict.
3. in Boykin v. Alabama,(227) include the privilege against compulsory incrimination, the right to trial by jury and the right to confront one's accusers.(228) The Court concluded, however, that while the decision to plead guilty is undeniably profound, it is no more complex "than the sum total of decisions a defendant may be called upon to make during the course of a trial."(229)
The Court's logic, solid in and of itself, is in accord with the policy considerations behind the theory of plea bargaining. Multiple competency standards could conflict with a defendant's right to plea bargain. A competency standard for pleading guilty that is higher than the Dusky standard for standing trial would create a class of semi-competent defendants who are able to stand trial but not to plead guilty.(230) This class would essentially be deprived of the speed, efficiency and privacy of the plea bargaining process afforded to other defendants.(231)
C. THE COURT'S OPINION IS CONSISTENT WITH A DEFENDANT'S SIXTH AMENDMENT RIGHT TO SELF-REPRESENTATION
The Court correctly held that due process does not require a standard of mental competency to discharge one's counsel that is higher than the standard of competency required of a defendant before he may be put to trial. The Court arrived at this conclusion by noting that the mental competency needed to choose to waive counsel is no greater than that needed to waive other constitutional rights.(232) The Court referred to a waiver of the right prohibiting compulsory self-incrimination, along with those "Boykin rights" that a defendant waives when he enters a guilty plea.(233) Since the Court had earlier held that the competency required to plead guilty is no higher than the competency to stand trial, it naturally followed, in the Court's opinion, that the competency required to waive counsel need not be any higher either. Although this logic is solid, the Court could have also approached the issue in terms of the right to self-representation articulated in Faretta v. California,(234) with which the Court's decision is in accord.
In Faretta, the Supreme Court inferred the right to self-representation from the structure of the Sixth Amendment. There, the Court emphasized that the Sixth Amendment speaks of the assistance of counsel and that an attorney is merely the defendant's ancillary assistant in preparing a defense to the charges.(235) In this respect, Faretta heavily emphasized the recognition of a defendant's personal autonomy in regards to legal proceedings.
Consistent with this perspective, several lower courts have reasoned that the decision to represent oneself is not a waiver of the Sixth Amendment right to assistance of counsel, but an active assertion of the constitutional right to self-representation over the constitutional right to assistance of counsel.(236) The decisions a defendant must make regarding his Sixth Amendment rights-and, accordingly, the level of competence required to engage in that process--are identical whether the defendant elects to proceed through trial with counsel, or whether he elects to proceed pro se. One would naturally view the decision to proceed with counsel as the assertion of one's right to an attorney, rather than a waiver of one's "Faretta right" to self-representation. Likewise, one could perceive the decision to appear pro se at court as the assertion of one's Sixth Amendment "Faretta right" to self-representation, rather than a waiver of one's Sixth Amendment right to counsel. These rights to counsel and self-representation, though of the same constitutional caliber,(237) are necessarily mutually exclusive Adj. 1. mutually exclusive - unable to be both true at the same time
incompatible - not compatible; "incompatible personalities"; "incompatible colors" . One logically cannot exercise the right to counsel and the right to self-representation simultaneously.(238) Thus, the exercise of one need not be viewed as a waiver of the other, but instead as a conscious decision to invoke one constitutional right rather than another. In this respect, it would make little sense to hold that the assertion of one's "Faretta right" to self-representation requires a higher mental functioning than the assertion of one's right to representation of counsel, since the rights are of an identical constitutional caliber and require identical decision processes.
People v. Reason(239) best illustrates this logic. There, the trial court determined that the defendant was competent to stand trial.(240) When the trial commenced two years later, the defendant insisted upon self-representation. Throughout his trial the defendant persistently ignored the court's suggestions that he conduct his defense with the assistance of the two assigned attorneys and also rejected the court's recommendation of the insanity defense A defense asserted by an accused in a criminal prosecution to avoid liability for the commission of a crime because, at the time of the crime, the person did not appreciate the nature or quality or wrongfulness of the acts.
The insanity defense is used by criminal defendants. , choosing instead to present an alibi defense.(241) The trial court allowed him to continue his own defense, but instructed the appointed attorneys to remain at his side throughout the trial.(242) At trial, especially during the opening and closing statements, the defendant "drifted into irrelevant and nearly incoherent discourses."(243) Not surprisingly, upon conclusion, "the jury found the defendant guilty as charged."(244)
On appeal, the defendant's attorney claimed that the defendant was denied his constitutional right to counsel since he lacked sufficient capacity or competence to act as his own attorney, arguing that the lower court "failed to perceive the distinction between mental capacity to stand trial and competency to act as attorney Pro se."(245) In rejecting this contention, the Court of Appeals of New York noted that it would be "difficult to formulate a workable, and presumably higher, standard of competency which would not infringe in·fringe
v. in·fringed, in·fring·ing, in·fring·es
1. To transgress or exceed the limits of; violate: infringe a contract; infringe a patent.
2. on the defendant's constitutional right to appear and defend in person."(246) Essentially, a higher competency standard would bar that semi-competent class of defendants from asserting their constitutional "Faretta rights" at trial. By so noting, the Reason court recognized that the right to assistance of counsel and the right to self-representation are of identical constitutional calibers and that there is no reason to require a heightened competency standard to assert one over the other. In conclusion, the court in Reason stated that after a defendant has been judged competent to stand trial, the only remaining "competency" determination is whether the discharge of counsel was made intelligently and voluntarily.(247)
D. THE IMPLICATIONS OF THE COURT'S HOLDING FOR FUTURE DEFENDANTS' COLLATERAL CHALLENGES TO THEIR COMPETENCY TO HAVE WAIVED CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS
The holding that due process does not require a higher competency standard to waive constitutional rights than to stand trial does not signify that a defendant's altered mental condition is irrelevant to the determination of whether she is competent to represent herself, to plead guilty, or to make any procedural decisions involving a waiver of constitutional rights. Quite the opposite is true. A defendant may still assert two other arguments concerning her mental condition in collaterally challenging her competency to waive such rights. First, under Godinez, she may challenge her competency, in light of her changed mental condition between the time of her original competency hearing and the time of her decision to waive counsel, under the Dusky "rational understanding" minimum standard.(248) If the state has adopted a higher standard by statute,(249) then the defendant may challenge her allegedly altered mental competency under whatever elaborate formulation the legislature has devised. Second, if the defendant is found competent to waive these rights, she may still challenge her waiver under the additional requirement that such waivers be exercised voluntarily and intelligently. Reason demonstrated this point when the court noted that "the determination that . . . [the waiver] was intelligent and voluntary, and thus legally effective, may well turn, even in major part, on the mental capability of the defendant at the time in the circumstances."(250) validity of Moran's waiver, in light of the possibility that his medications caused his lethargy and depression, was not at issue in Godinez and may be the subject of future appeals.(251) The Godinez Court indeed hinted at this option when it acknowledged that in addition to determining whether a defendant was competent to discharge counsel, the court must satisfy itself that the discharge was knowing and voluntary.(252)
The dissent incorrectly notes that the majority's transformation of the Westbrook case into a case about the voluntariness of Moran's waiver "needlessly complicates this area of the law.(253) In fact, the majority's rejection of the Ninth Circuit's "reasoned choice" standard eliminates the guesswork in distinguishing between subtle nuances of the various standards, thus simplifying the inquiry. In addition, voluntariness will always be an issue in any waiver case under Johnson and Brady.(254) In any event, the majority noted, the states remain free to adopt heightened standards by statute if they believe that Dusky is inadequate to measure competency to waive rights. The Court in Godinez held only that due process does not require them to do so.
The Court in Godinez v. Moran(255) addressed an important issue that has divided the federal circuit courts for years. The Godinez Court correctly held that due process does not require a heightened competency standard to waive constitutional rights above the Dusky competency standard to stand trial. This holding is in accord both with the policy justifications supporting the plea bargaining process and with the constitutional right to self-representation.
Under Godinez, even if the trial court has already found the defendant competent to stand trial, the defendant's mental condition remains relevant to a judicial determination of competency to waive constitutional rights. A defendant who wishes to collaterally challenge his competency may still do so under the Dusky "rational understanding" standard, unless the state has adopted a higher standard by statute, in which case the defendant may assert his challenge in light of whatever standard the state legislature A state legislature may refer to a legislative branch or body of a political subdivision in a federal system.
The following legislatures exist in the following political subdivisions:
Sometimes per curiam signifies an opinion written by the chief justice or presiding judge; it can also refer to a brief oral announcement ). (5) 422 U.S. 806 (1975). (6) U.S. Const. amend. XIV. (7) Spencer v. Texas, 385 U.S. 554, 563-64 (1967). (8) Dusky v. United States, 362 U.S. 402 (1960) (per curiam). See infra [Latin, Below, under, beneath, underneath.] A term employed in legal writing to indicate that the matter designated will appear beneath or in the pages following the reference.
infra prep. notes 12-28 and accompanying text. (9) Gideon v. Wainwright Gideon v. Wainwright, case decided in 1963 by the U.S. Supreme Court. Clarence Earl Gideon was convicted of a felony in a Florida court. He had defended himself after being denied a request for free counsel. , 372 U.S. 335, 342 (1963). (10) See Malloy v. Hogan, 378 U.S. 1, 6-8 (1964) (prohibition against compulsory self-incrimination) Gideon, 372 U.S. at 342-44 (right to counsel). (11) E.g., Faretta v. California, 422 U.S. 806, 819-20 (1975). See infra notes 29-49 and accompanying text. (12) Medina v. California, 112 S. Ct. 2572, 2574 (1992). Accord Drope v. Missouri, 420 U.S. 162, 171-73 (1975); Pate v. Robinson, 383 U.S. 375, 378 (1966).
This principle is deeply rooted in common law and was recognized by Blackstone. Medina, 112 S. Ct. at 2578; Thomas v. Cunningham, 313 F.2d 934, 938 (4th Cir. 1963); Youtsey v. United States, 97 F. 937, 940-46 (6th Cir. 1899). To support his contention that a mentally disturbed defendant should not be tried, Blackstone argued:
If a man in his sound memory commits an offence, and before arraignment A criminal proceeding at which the defendant is officially called before a court of competent jurisdiction, informed of the offense charged in the complaint, information, indictment, or other charging document, and asked to enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or as otherwise permitted for it, he
becomes mad, he ought not to be arraigned for it; because he is not able to plead to
it with that advice and caution that he ought. And if, after he has pleaded, the
prisoner becomes mad, he shall not be tried: for how can he make his defence? 4 William Blackstone Sir William Blackstone (originally pronounced Blexstun) (10 July 1723 – 14 February 1780) was an English jurist and professor who produced the historical and analytic treatise on the common law called Commentaries on the Laws of England , Commentaries *24. Another commentator from Blackstone's era, agreeing that a defendant of unsound mind should not be tried for a criminal offense, explained that:
[I]f a man in his sound memory commits a capital offense, and before his arraignment
he becomes absolutely mad, he ought not by law to be arraigned during such
his phrenzy, but be remitted to prison until that incapacity The absence of legal ability, competence, or qualifications.
An individual incapacitated by infancy, for example, does not have the legal ability to enter into certain types of agreements, such as marriage or contracts. be removed; the reason
is, because he cannot advisedly plead to the indictment .... And if such person
after his plea, and before his trial, becomes of non sane memory SANE MEMORY. By this is meant that understanding which enables a man to make contracts and his will, and to perform such other acts as are authorized by law; Vide Lunacy; Memory; Non compos mentis. , he shall not be tried;
or, if after his trial he becomes of non sane memory, he shall not receive judgment; or,
if after judgment he becomes of non sane memory, his execution shall be spared; for
were he of sound memory, he might allege To state, recite, assert, or charge the existence of particular facts in a Pleading or an indictment; to make an allegation.
allege v. somewhat in stay of judgment or
execution. 1 Matthew Hale There have been a number of people named Matthew Hale:
A plural of corona. *34-*35 (1736) (citations omitted). (13) Drope, 420 U.S. at 171. See also Model Penal Code The Model Penal Code (MPC) is one of the most important developments in American law, and perhaps the most important influence on American Criminal Law since it was completed in 1962. [sections] 4.04 (1985) ("No person who as a result of mental illness or defect lacks capacity to understand the proceedings against him or to assist in his own defense shall be tried, convicted or sentenced for the commission of an offense so long as such incapacity endures."). (14) Pate, 383 U.S. at 385-86 (internal quotation marks quotation marks
the punctuation marks used to begin and end a quotation, either `` and '' or ` and '
quotation marks npl → comillas fpl
omitted). This rule is codified cod·i·fy
tr.v. cod·i·fied, cod·i·fy·ing, cod·i·fies
1. To reduce to a code: codify laws.
2. To arrange or systematize. in 18 U.S.C. [sections] 4241(a) (1985), which provides:
[T]he court shall . . . order such a hearing on its own motion [to determine the
mental competency of the defendant] if there is reasonable cause to believe that the
defendant may presently be suffering from a mental disease or defect rendering him
mentally incompetent to the extent that he is unable to understand the nature and
consequences of the proceedings against him or to assist properly in his defense. (emphasis added). (15) See Thomas Grisso, Evaluating Competencies 69-70 (1986) (listing commentators' criticisms of the substance of psychiatric competency assessments and the procedures with which they are performed). (16) 362 U.S. 402 (1960) (per curiam). (17) Id. Dusky is codified generally at 18 U.S.C. [sections] 4241(d) (1988), which provides:
If, after a hearing, the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence preponderance of the evidence n. the greater weight of the evidence required in a civil (non-criminal) lawsuit for the trier of fact (jury or judge without a jury) to decide in favor of one side or the other. that the defendant
is presently suffering from a mental disease or defect rendering him mentally
incompetent to the extent that he is unable to understand the nature and
consequences of the proceedings against him or to assist properly in his defense,
the court shall commit the defendant to the custody of the Attorney General. The
Attorney General shall [then] hospitalize hos·pi·tal·ize
tr.v. hos·pi·tal·ized, hos·pi·tal·iz·ing, hos·pi·tal·iz·es
To place in a hospital for treatment, care, or observation. the defendant for treatment in a suitable facility .... (18) 97 F. 937 (6th Cir. 1899). (19) Id. at 946-47. Similarly, in United States v. Chisolm, 149 F. 284 (S.D. Ala. 1906), a district court held that:
[A] person, though not entirely sane sane (san) sound in mind.
Of sound mind; mentally healthy.
sane , may be put upon trial in a criminal case if he
rightly comprehends his own condition with reference to the proceedings, and has
such possession and control of his mental powers, including the faculty of memory,
as will enable him to testify intelligently and give his counsel all the material facts
..., and has such poise of his faculties as will enable him to rationally and properly
exercise all the rights which the law gives him in contesting a conviction. Id. at 287. See also McIntosh v. Pescor, 175 F.2d 95, 98-99 (6th Cir. 1949) (issue was "whether the accused had the mental capacity to understand the proceedings against him and rationally advise with his counsel as to his defense").
See Peter R. Silten & Richard Tullis, Mental Competency in Criminal Proceedings, 28 Hastings L.J. 1053, 1058-65 (1977), for a more in-depth analysis of the evolution and application of the Dusky standard. (20) Drope v. Missouri, 420 U.S. 162, 171-72 (1975) (citing Note, Incompetency to Stand Trial, 81 Harv. L. Rev. 454, 457-59 (1967)); Model Penal Code [sections] 4.04 commentary at 220 n.1 (1985). (21) Note, supra A relational DBMS from Cincom Systems, Inc., Cincinnati, OH (www.cincom.com) that runs on IBM mainframes and VAXs. It includes a query language and a program that automates the database design process. note 20, at 457. (22) Id. (23) Id. at 458. (24) Id. (25) Id. at 458-59. (26) Id. (27) Drope v. Missouri, 420 U.S. 162, 171 (1975) (quoting Caleb Foote, A Comment on Pre-Trial Commitments of Criminal Defendants, 108 U. Pa. L. Rev. 832, 834 (1960)); Silten & Tullis, supra note 19, at 1053. (28) Drope, 420 U.S. at 171 (quoting Foote, supra note 27, at 834). (29) U.S. Const. amend. V. (30) U.S. Const. amend. VI. (31) Id. (32) Id. (33) Id. (34) Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335, 342-43 (1963); Johnson v. Zerbst, 304 U.S. 458, 462 (1938); Grosjean v. American Press Co., 297 U.S. 233, 243-44 (1936); Powell v. Alabama Powell v. Alabama, 287 U.S. 45, 53 S. Ct. 55, 77 L. Ed. 158 (1932), is a watershed case in Criminal Law. The Powell case marked the first time that the U.S. Supreme Court reversed a state court conviction because the lower court failed to appoint counsel or give the , 287 U.S. 45, 68 (1932). (35) Gideon, 372 U.S. at 344. See also Argersinger v. Hamlin, 407 U.S. 25, 32-33 (1972) (an indigent's right to assistance of counsel extends to any criminal trial where an accused faces imprisonment, regardless of whether the offense is classified as felony felony (fĕl`ənē), any grave crime, in contrast to a misdemeanor, that is so declared in statute or was so considered in common law. , misdemeanor, or petty). But see Scott v. Illinois Scott v. Illinois, 440 U.S. 367 (1979), was a case heard by the Supreme Court of the United States. After being denied a request for court-appointed counsel, Scott was convicted in a bench trial of shoplifting and fined $50. , 440 U.S. 367, 369, 373-74 (1979) (an indigent's right to assistance of counsel does not extend to those trials for which imprisonment is authorized, but not actually imposed, on a defendant, nor does it extend to those trials in which fines are actually imposed). (36) Gideon, 372 U.S. at 345. See also 2 Wayne R. LaFave & Jerold H. Israel, Criminal Procedure [sections] 11.1 (a), at 7 (1984). (37) 422 U.S. 806 (1975). (38) Id. at 833-34. (39) Id. at 819-20. (40) Id. at 819 (quoting U.S. Const. amend. VI.). (41) Id. at 819-20. (42) Id. at 820. (43) Id. (44) Id. at 836. (45) U.S. Const. amend. V. (46) Malloy v. Hogan, 378 U.S. 1, 9 (1964) (citing Boyd v. United States, 116 U.S. 616, 632 (1886). (47) See Santobello v. New York, 404 U.S. 257 (1971), discussed infra notes 50-58 and accompanying text. (48) Black's Law Dictionary A law dictionary is a dictionary that is designed and compiled to give information about terms used in the field of law.
A distinction is made between different types of law dictionaries. A monolingual law dictionary covers one language, a bilingual covers two. 1152 (6th ed. 1990). (49) Boykin v. Alabama, 395 U.S. 238, 243 (1969). (50) 404 U.S. 257 (1971). (51) The right of a defendant to plea bargain is now codified in Fed. R. Crim. P. 11 (a) (1) ("A defendant may plead not guilty, guilty, or nolo contendere [Latin, I will not contest it.] A plea in a criminal case by which the defendant answers the charges made in the indictment by declining to dispute or admit the fact of his or her guilt. ."). Nevertheless, "[a] court may reject a plea in exercise of sound judicial discretion." Santobello, 404 U.S. at 261; Fed. R. Crim. P. 11 (e) (4). (52) Santobello, 404 U.S. at 260. (53) Id. (54) Id. at 261. (55) Brady v. United States, 397 U.S. 742, 752 (1970). (56) Id. (57) Id. (58) Santobello, 404 U.S. at 261. (59) Fed. R. Crim. P. 11 (c) and (d) codify codify to arrange and label a system of laws. these requirements, which must be satisfied before the judge may accept a guilty plea. (60) Johnson v. Zerbst, 304 U.S. 458, 463-64 (1938) (waiver of counsel); Brady, 397 U.S. at 748 (guilty plea). (61) Faretta v. California, 422 U.S. 806, 835 (1975) (waiver of counsel); Brady, 397 U.S. at 748 (guilty plea). (62) Carnley v. Cochran, 369 U.S. 506, 516 (1962) (waiver of counsel); Boykin v. Alabama, 395 U.S. 238, 242 (1969) (guilty plea). (63) Westbrook v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 150 (1966) (per curiam) (citing Johnson, 304 U.S. at 465). (64) Brady, 397 U.S. at 748. (65) See Fed. R. Crim. P. 32(d) ("[T]o correct manifest injustice the court after sentence may set aside the judgment of conviction and permit the defendant to withdraw his plea."). (66) 28 U.S.C. [sections] 2255 (1988); United States v. Masthers, 539 F.2d 721, 726 (D.C. Cir. 1976). (67) See supra notes 59-66 and accompanying text. (68) Godinez v. Moran, 113 S. Ct. 2680, 2685 (1993). (69) See George E. Dix, Waiver in Criminal Procedure: A Brief for More Careful Analysis, 55 Tex. L. Rev. 193, 260 (1977). (70) Although a defendant could presumably waive any procedural protection guaranteed by the Constitution, most cases have involved waivers of the Fifth Amendment right against compulsory self-incrimination through the entry of a guilty plea and the Sixth Amendment right to assistance of counsel. (71) 348 U.S. 105 (1954). (72) Id. at 108. (73) Id. at 106. (74) Id. at 107. (75) Id. at 107-08. (76) Id. at 108. (77) Id. (78) Id. (79) Id. (emphasis added). (80) 384 U.S. 312 (1966) (per curiam). (81) Id. at 313. (82) Id. (83) Id. (84) Id. (85) Id. at 313-14. (86) Id. (87) Id. at 314 (emphasis added). (88) As noted, a defendant could presumably waive any procedural protection guaranteed by the Constitution, but most cases have specifically concerned either the waiver of the right to counsel or the prohibition against compulsory self-incrimination. See supra note 70. (89) 384 U.S. 150 (1966) (per curiam). (90) State v. Westbrook, 406 P.2d 388, 390 (Ariz. 1965). (91) Westbrook, 384 U.S. at 150. (92) Id. (citing Johnson v. Zerbst, 304 U.S. 458, 465 (1938); Carnley v. Cochran, 369 U.S. 506 (1962)). (93) 304 U.S. 458 (1938). See supra notes 59-62 and accompanying text. (94) 369 U.S. 506 (1962). See supra notes 59-62 and accompanying text. (95) Westbrook, 384 U.S. at 151. (96) 478 F.2d 211 (9th Cir. 1973). Because the court reached the same conclusion as Moran v. Godinez, 972 F.2d 263 (9th Cir. 1992), which was reversed by Godinez v. Moran, 113 S. Ct. 2680 (1993), the Sieling decision has been reversed by implication. (97) Id. at 214-15. (98) Id. at 213. (99) Id. (100) Id. at 214 (citing Westbrook v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 150 (1966) (per curiam) (internal quotation marks omitted)). (101) Id. (102) Id. at 215. (103) Id. That standard was first suggested in Scholler v. Dunbar, 423 F.2d 1183, 1194 (9th Cir.) (Hufstedler, J., dissenting), cert (Computer Emergency Response Team) A group of people in an organization who coordinate their response to breaches of security or other computer emergencies such as breakdowns and disasters. . denied, 400 U.S. 834 (1970). (104) Sieling, 478 F.2d at 215. (105) 539 F.2d 721, 726 (D.C. Cir. 1976). See also United States v. David, 511 F.2d 355, 362 n. 19 (D.C. Cir. 1975) ("While [defendant's] level of awareness and comprehension might have been high enough to render him competent to stand trial, it may not have been high enough to allow him to validly waive his constitutional right to a trial by jury ...."). (106) See Allard v. Helgemoe, 572 F.2d 1, 3-4 (1st Cir.) (applying Dusky despite the defendant's argument for a higher standard), cert. denied, 439 U.S. 858 (1978); United States v. Hewitt, 528 F.2d 339, 342 (3d Cir. 1975) (rejecting Sieling in favor of Dusky standard); Shaw v. Martin, 733 F.2d 304, 314 (4th Cir.) (adopting a standard "parallel" to that of Dusky as the court could see "no logical reason that the standards should be different"), cert. denied, 469 U.S. 873 (1984); Malinauskas v. United States, 505 F.2d 649, 654 (5th Cir. 1974) ("The test[s] of mental competency at the time of trial or the entering of a plea ... [are] the same."); United States v. Harlan, 480 F.2d 515, 517 (6th Cir.) (rejecting the argument that the standard to plead guilty should be more stringent), cert. denied, 414 U.S. 1006 (1973); United States ex rel Heral v. Franzen, 667 F.2d 633, 638 (7th Cir. 1981) (agreeing with several other circuits that the standards are equivalent). (107) See United States v. Valentino, 283 F.2d 634, 635 (2d Cir. 1960) (applying the pre-Dusky formulation for competency articulated in 18 U.S.C. [sections] 4244); Stanley v. Lockhart, 941 F.2d 707, 710 (8th Cir. 1991); Wolf v. United States, 430 F.2d 443, 444 (10th Cir. 1970); United States v. Simmons, 961 F.2d 183, 187 (11th Cir. 1992), cert. denied, 113 S. Ct. 1591 (1993). (108) United States ex rel Konigsberg v. Vincent, 526 F.2d 131, 133 (2d Cir. 1975) ("[Westbrook] does indicate that the standard of competence for making the decision to represent oneself is vaguely higher than the standard for competence to stand trial.") (emphasis added), cert. denied, 426 U.S. 937 (1976); United States v. McDowell, 814 F.2d 245, 250 (6th Cir.) ("We recognize that the degree of competency required to waive counsel is |vaguely higher than the competency required to stand trial.' ") (emphasis added), cert. denied, 484 U.S. 980 (1987); Blackmon v. Armontrout, 875 F.2d 164, 166 (8th Cir.) ("The standard for determining whether a person is capable of making a knowing and intelligent waiver of the right to counsel is not coextensive with the test for determining competency to proceed to trial.") (emphasis added), cert. denied, 493 U.S. 939 (1989). (109) United States v. Campbell, 874 F.2d 838, 846 (1st Cir. 1989). (110) Moran v. Godinez, 972 F.2d 263, 266 (9th Cir. 1992), rev'd, 113 S. Ct. 2680 (1993). (111) United States v. Clark, 943 F.2d 775, 782 (7th Cir. 1991) ("[N]o additional competency determination need be made [beyond the determination of competency to stand trial.]"), cert. denied, 113 S. Ct. 3045 (1993). (112) United States v. McGinnis, 384 F.2d 875, 877 (4th Cir. 1967) (per curiam), cert. denied, 390 U.S. 990 (1968). (113) See Godinez v. Moran, 113 S. Ct. 2680, 2684-85 (1993). (114) Id. at 2682. (115) Id. (116) Moran v. State, 734 P.2d 712, 713 (Nev. 1987) (per curiam). (117) Godinez, 113 S. Ct. at 2682. (118) Id. (119) Id. (120) Id. (121) Id. at 2692 (Blackmun, J., dissenting). See also id. at 2683 n.1. (122) Id. at 2682-83. (123) Id. at 2683. (124) Id. (125) Id. (126) Id. (127) Id. at 2693 (Blackmun, J., dissenting). The dissent cited the following exchange to highlight the "mechanical" nature of Moran's answers:
When the trial judge asked him whether he killed his ex-wife "deliberately, with
premeditation premeditation n. planning, plotting or deliberating before doing something. Premeditation is an element in first degree murder and shows intent to commit that crime. (See: malice aforethought, murder, first degree murder)
PREMEDITATION. and malice aforethought A predetermination to commit an act without legal justification or excuse. A malicious design to
injure. An intent, at the time of a killing, willfully to take the life of a human being, or an intent willfully to act in callous and wanton disregard of the consequences to ," Moran unexpectedly responded: "No, I
didn't do it--I mean, I wasn't looking to kill her, but she ended up dead." Instead
of probing further, the trial judge simply repeated the question, inquiring again
whether Moran had acted deliberately. Once again, Moran replied: "I don't know.
I mean, I don't know what you mean by deliberately. I mean, I pulled the trigger on
purpose, but I didn't plan on doing it; you know what I mean?" Ignoring the ambiguity
of Moran's responses, the trial judge reframed the question to elicit an affirmative
answer, stating: "Well, I've previously explained to you what is meant by
deliberation deliberation n. the act of considering, discussing, and, hopefully, reaching a conclusion, such as a jury's discussions, voting and decision-making.
DELIBERATION, contracts, crimes. and premeditation. Deliberate means that you arrived at or determined
as a result of careful thought and weighing the consideration for and against
the proposed action. Did you do that?" This time, Moran responded: "Yes." Id. (Blackmun, J., dissenting) (internal citations omitted). (128) Id. at 2683. (129) Id. (130) Id. at 2692 (Blackmun, J., dissenting). (131) Id. (Blackmun, J., dissenting). The dissent noted that Moran's medical records "show that Moran was administered dilantin, an anti-epileptic medication that may cause confusion; inderal, a beta-blocker anti-arrhythmic that may cause light-headedness, mental depression, hallucinations Hallucinations Definition
Hallucinations are false or distorted sensory experiences that appear to be real perceptions. These sensory impressions are generated by the mind rather than by any external stimuli, and may be seen, heard, felt, and even , disorientation disorientation /dis·or·i·en·ta·tion/ (-or?e-en-ta´shun) the loss of proper bearings, or a state of mental confusion as to time, place, or identity. , and short-term memory loss; and vistaril, a depressant depressant, any one of various substances that diminish functional activity, usually by depressing the nervous system. Barbiturates, sedatives, alcohol, and meprobamate are all depressants. Depressants have various modes of action and effects. that may cause drowsiness drows·i·ness
A state of impaired awareness associated with a desire or inclination to sleep. Also called hypnesthesia.
drowsiness Medtalk Semiconsciousness; grogginess, sleepiness , tremors, and convulsions Convulsions
Also termed seizures; a sudden violent contraction of a group of muscles.
Mentioned in: Heat Disorders ." Id. at 2692 n.1 (Blackmun, J., dissenting).
Phenobarbital is a central nervous system depressant that is used primarily as a sedative-hypnotic Physicians' Desk Reference 1331 (47th ed. 1993). The drug can accentuate ac·cen·tu·ate
tr.v. ac·cen·tu·at·ed, ac·cen·tu·at·ing, ac·cen·tu·ates
1. To stress or emphasize; intensify: emotional disturbances and can cause drowsiness and lethargy. Id. at 1332-33. (132) Godinez, 113 S. Ct. at 2692 (Blackmun, J., dissenting). (133) Id. (Blackmun, J., dissenting). (134) Id. at 2683. Nev. Rev. Stat. [sections] 200.030(4)(a) (1992) provides, in pertinent part:
Every person convicted of murder of the first degree shall be punished: (a) By
death, only if one or more aggravating ag·gra·vate
tr.v. ag·gra·vat·ed, ag·gra·vat·ing, ag·gra·vates
1. To make worse or more troublesome.
2. To rouse to exasperation or anger; provoke. See Synonyms at annoy. circumstances are found and any mitigating
circumstance or circumstances which are found do not outweigh the aggravating
circumstance or circumstances. (135) Godinez, 113 S. Ct. at 2683. Concerning the murder of his ex-wife, the court held that Moran did not satisfy any of the "aggravating circumstances" and consequently was ineligible in·el·i·gi·ble
1. Disqualified by law, rule, or provision: ineligible to run for office; ineligible for health benefits.
2. for the death penalty for that particular murder under Nev. Rev. Stat. [sections] 200.030(4)(a) (1992). Moran v. State, 734 P.2d 712, 714 (Nev. 1987). Nev. Rev. Stat. [sections] 200.033 (1993) provides, in pertinent part:
The only circumstances by which murder of the first degree may be aggravated ag·gra·vate
tr.v. ag·gra·vat·ed, ag·gra·vat·ing, ag·gra·vates
1. To make worse or more troublesome.
2. To rouse to exasperation or anger; provoke. See Synonyms at annoy. are:
3. The murder was committed by a person who knowingly created a great risk
of death to more than one person by means of a weapon, device or course of action
which would normally be hazardous to the lives of more than one person.
8. The murder involved torture, depravity of mind or the mutilation Mutilation
See also Brutality, Cruelty.
Mutiny (See REBELLION.)
hacked to death; body pieces strewn about. [Gk. Myth.: Walsh Classical, 3]
had breasts cut off. [Christian Hagiog. of the
9. The murder was committed upon one or more persons at random and without
apparent motive. (136) Moran, 734 P.2d at 714. Nev. Rev. Stat. [sections] 177.055(3)(c) (1992) provides, in pertinent part, that "[t]he supreme court, when reviewing a death sentence, may: ... (c) Set aside the sentence of death and impose the sentence of imprisonment for life without possibility of parole life without possibility of parole n. a sentence sometimes given for particularly vicious criminals in murder cases or to repeat felons, particularly if the crime is committed in a state which has no death penalty, the jury chooses not to impose the death penalty, or ." (137) Godinez, 113 S. Ct. at 2683. (138) Id. (139) Id. (second alteration in original). (140) Moran v. Warden, 810 P.2d 335 (Nev. 1989). (141) Moran v. Whitley, 493 U.S. 874 (1989). (142) Godinez, 113 S. Ct. at 2683. (143) Id. at 2683-84 (quoting Moran v. Godinez, 972 F.2d 263, 265 (9th Cir. 1992) (internal quotation marks omitted), rev'd, 113 S. Ct. 2680 (1993)). (144) Moran, 972 F.2d at 265. (145) Godinez, 113 S. Ct. at 2684 (citing Moran, 972 F.2d at 265). (146) Id. (referring to 28 U.S.C. [sections] 2254(d) (1988)). 28 U.S.C. [sections] 2254(d) provides, pertinent part:
[I]n any proceeding instituted in a Federal court by an application for a writ of habeas corpus by
a person in custody Any person under the direct control and protection of US forces. pursuant to the judgment of a State court, a determination after a
hearing on the merits on the merits adj. referring to a judgment, decision or ruling of a court based upon the facts presented in evidence and the law applied to that evidence. A judge decides a case "on the merits" when he/she bases the decision on the fundamental issues and considers of a factual issue, made by a State court of competent jurisdiction
in a proceeding to which the applicant for the writ and the State or an officer or
agent thereof were parties, evidenced by a written finding, written opinion, or other
reliable and adequate written indicia Signs; indications. Circumstances that point to the existence of a given fact as probable, but not certain. For example, indicia of partnership are any circumstances which would induce the belief that a given person was in reality, though not technically, a member of a given , shall be presumed to be correct .... (emphasis added). (147) Godinez, 113 S. Ct. at 2684 (quoting Moran, 972 F.2d at 266). (148) Id. (quoting Moran, 972 F.2d at 266). (149) Id. (quoting Moran, 972 F.2d at 266). (150) Id. (quoting Moran, 972 F.2d at 267). (151) Id. (quoting Moran, 972 F.2d at 268). (152) Id. at 2685. (153) Justice Thomas was joined by Chief Justice Rehnquist and Justices White, O'Connor, and Souter. Justices Kennedy and Scalia joined as to parts I, II-B, and III of the Court's opinion and concurred in the judgment. (154) Godinez, 113 S. Ct. at 2686. (155) Id. (156) Id. (157) Id. (citing Boykin v. Alabama, 395 U.S. 238, 243 (1969)). (158) Id. (159) Id. These "other constitutional rights" are discussed supra note 157 and accompanying text. (160) Godinez, 113 S. Ct. at 2686. (161) Id. at 2687. (162) Id. (citing Faretta v. California, 422 U.S. 806, 836 (1975)). (163) Id. (164) Id. (citing Parke v. Raley, 113 S. Ct. 517, 523 (1992) (guilty plea); Faretia, 422 U.S. at 835 (waiver of counsel)). (165) Id. (internal quotation marks omitted). (166) Id. at 2688. (167) Id. (internal citations omitted) (alterations in original). (168) Id. (169) Id. (170) Justice Kennedy was joined by Justice Scalia. These Justices concurred in the judgment and joined Parts I, 11-B, and III of the Court's opinion. (171) Godinez, 113 S. Ct. at 2688 (Kennedy, J., concurring con·cur
intr.v. con·curred, con·cur·ring, con·curs
1. To be of the same opinion; agree: concurred on the issue of preventing crime. See Synonyms at assent.
2. ). (172) Id. at 2689 (Kennedy, J., concurring). (173) Id. (Kennedy, J., concurring). (174) Id. (Kennedy, J., concurring). (175) Id. (Kennedy, J., concurring). (176) Id. at 2689-90 (Kennedy, J., concurring). (177) Id. at 2689 (Kennedy, J., concurring) (quoting Patterson v. New York, 432 U.S. 197, 202 (1977). (178) Id. at 2690 (Kennedy, J., concurring) (citing State v. Reed, 7 So. 132 (La. 1889); Underwood v. People, 32 Mich. 1 (1875); Crocker v. State, 19 N.W. 435 (Wis. 1884); Regina v. Southey, 176 Eng. Rep. 825 (N.P. 1865)). (179) Godinez, 113 S. Ct. at 2690 (Kennedy, J., concurring) (citing Moss v. Hunter, 167 F.2d 683 (10th Cir. , cert. denied, 334 U.S. 860 (1948); Hunt v. State, 27 So. 2d 186 (Ala. 1946); Commonwealth v. Woelfel 88 S.W. 1061 (Ky. 1905); State v. Seminary seminary
Educational institution, usually for training in theology. In the U.S. the term was formerly also used to refer to institutions of higher learning for women, often teachers' colleges. , 115 So. 370 (La. 1927); Freeman v. People, 4 Denio 2 (N.Y. 1847); State ex rel Townsend v. Bushong, 65 N.e.2d 407 (Ohio 1946) (per curiam);jordan v. State, 135 S.W. 327 (Tenn. 1911)). (180) Godinez, 113 S. Ct. at 2690 (Kennedy, J., concurring). (181) Id. at 2691 (Kennedy, J., concurring). (182) Id. (Kennedy, J., concurring). (183) Id. (Kennedy, J., concurring) (citing Drope v. Missouri, 420 U.S. 162, 180-81 (1975)). (184) Id. (Kennedy, J., concurring). (185) Justice Blackmun was joined by Justice Stevens. (186) Godinez, 113 S. Ct. at 2692 (Blackmun, J., dissenting). (187) Id. (Blackmun, J., dissenting). (188) Id. at 2693 (Blackmun, J., dissenting) (internal quotation marks omitted). (189) Id. at 2694 (Blackmun, J., dissenting). (190) Id. (Blackmun, J., dissenting). (191) Id. (Blackmun, J., dissenting). Justice Blackmun illustrated this point with the analogy that "a person who is competent to play basketball is not thereby competent to play the violin." Id. (Blackmun, J., dissenting) (192) Id. (Blackmun, J., dissenting). (193) Id. (Blackmun, J., dissenting) (quoting Massey v. Moore, 348 U.S. 105, 108 (1954)). (194) Id. (Blackmun, J., dissenting) (quoting Westbrook v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 150 (1966) (per curiam)). (195) Id. (Blackmun, J., dissenting). (196) Id. at 2695 (Blackmun, J., dissenting). (197) Id. (Blackmun, J., dissenting). (198) Id. (Blackmun, J., dissenting). (199) Id. (Blackmun, J., dissenting) (quoting Faretta v. California, 422 U.S. 806, 835 (1975)). (200) Id. (Blackmun, J., dissenting). The dissent illustrated this point with the analogy that "a defendant who is utterly incapable of conducting his own defense cannot be considered |competent' to make such a decision, any more than a person who chooses to leap out Verb 1. leap out - be highly noticeable
jump out, stand out, stick out, jump
appear, seem, look - give a certain impression or have a certain outward aspect; "She seems to be sleeping"; "This appears to be a very difficult problem"; "This project looks of a window in the belief that he can fly can be considered |competent' to make such a choice." Id. at 2695-96 (Blackmun, J., dissenting). (201) Id. at 2696 (Blackmun, J., dissenting). (202) Id. (Blackmun, J., dissenting). (203) 384 U.S. 150 (1966) (per curiam). (204) One court has described the Westbrook opinion as "cryptic cryp·tic
1. Hidden or concealed.
2. Tending to conceal or camouflage, as the coloring of an animal. ." People v. Matheson, (245) N.W.2d 551, 554 (Mich. Ct. App. 1976). (205) 478 F.2d 211 (9th Cir. 1973). Because this case gives the same holding as Moran v. Godinez, 972 F.2d 263 (9th Cir. 1992), which has been reversed by Godinez v. Moran, 113 S. Ct. 2680 (1993), it too has been overruled by implication. (206) 348 U.S. 105 (1954). (207) 384 U.S. 312 (1966) (per curiam). (208) See supra notes 96-104 and accompanying text, (209) 362 U.S. 402 (1960) (per curiam). (210) See supra note 194 and accompanying text. (211) See Note, Competence to Plead Guilty and to Stand Trial: A New Standard When a Criminal Defendant Waives Counsel, 68 Va. L. Rev. 1139, 1152-54 (1982); Silten & Tullis, supra note 19, at 1065-68. (212) Westbrook v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 150 (1966) (per curiam) (citing Johnson v. Zerbst, 304 U.S. 458, 465 (1938)). (213) 304 U.S. 458 (1938). See supra notes 59-62 and accompanying text. (214) Godinez v. Moran, 113 S. Ct. 2680, 2688 (1993). (215) Id. (citing Westhrook, 384 U.S. at 150). (216) See Silten & Tullis, supra note 19, at 1067. (217) Massey v. Moore, 348 U.S. 105, 108 (1954). (218) Godinez, 113 S. Ct. at 2694 (Blackmun, J., dissenting). (219) See supra notes 71-79 and accompanying text. (220) See Godinez, 113 S. Ct. at 2694-95 (Blackmun, J., dissenting). (221) Rees v. Peyton, 384 U.S. 312, 314 (1966) (per curiam). (222) The majority acknowledged this point. See Godinez, 113 S. Ct. at 2686 n.9. (223) Id. at 2686. (224) Rees v. Peyton, 384 U.S. 312, 314 (1966). (225) Brady v. United States, 397 U.S. 742, 748 (1970). (226) Godinez, 113 S. Ct. at 2686. (227) 395 U.S. 238, 243 (1969). (228) Godinez, 113 S. Ct. at 2686. (229) Id. (230) See Allard v. Helgemoe, 572 F.2d 1, 4 (1st Cir.), cert. denied, 439 U.S. 858 (1978); United States ex rel Heral v. Franzen, 667 F.2d 633, 638 (7th Cir. 1981); People v. Heral, 342 N.E.2d 34, 37 (Ill. 1976). (231) See supra notes 51-58 and accompanying text for a discussion of the benefits plea bargaining. (232) Godinez, 113 S. Ct. at 2686. (233) See supra note 157 and accompanying text. (234) 422 U.S. 806 (1975). (235) Id. at 820. See supra notes 40-44 and accompanying text. (236) See United States v. McDowell, 814 F.2d 245, 250 (6th Cir.), cert. denied, 484 U.S. 980 (1987); United States ex rel Konigsberg v. Vincent, 526 F.2d 131, 133-34 (2d Cir. 1975), cert. denied, 426 U.S. 937 (1976); People v. Reason, 334 N.E.2d 572, 574 (N.Y. 1975). (237) Though the right to counsel is expressly incorporated in the Sixth Amendment, the Supreme Court in Faretta has interpreted the Sixth Amendment to incorporate a constitutional right to self-representation. Faretta v. California, 422 U.S. 806, 819 1975). (238) In fact, one court identified that the decision to waive counsel is "implicit in the assertion of the right to defend Pro se." Reason, 334 N.E.2d at 574. (239) 334 N.E.2d 572 (N.Y. 1975). (240) Id. at 573. (241) Id. (242) Id. (243) Id. (244) Id. (245) Id. (internal quotation marks omitted). (246) Id. at 574. Note that Reason is a New York state case and that the Constitution of the State of New York specifically provides for the right to self-representation. N.Y. Const. art. 1, [sections] 6. By contrast, this right is merely implied in the structure of the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution. See Faretta v. California, 422 U.S. 806, 819 (1975). (247) Reason, 334 N.E.2d at 573-74. (248) Moran in fact attempted this, unsuccessfully, during the postconviction hearing. See supra notes 137-41 and accompanying text. However, the court may have erred by rejecting Moran's claim that he was mentally incompetent to represent himself In determining that Moran was competent to stand trial, the court had originally relied on the testimony of two psychiatrists. Moran then sought to discharge his counsel two and one-half months after the hearing about his competence to stand trial. The court, concluding that Moran was competent to discharge his counsel based on the Dusky standard, relied on these same psychiatric evaluations. Although the court applied the correct standard, it should have ordered an updated psychiatric evaluation psychiatric evaluation The assessment of a person's mental, social, psychologic functionality. See DSM-IV-table multiaxial assessment, Personality testing, Psychiatric history, Psychiatric interview. of Moran since his mental condition may have changed since the earlier examination. This possible error, however, was not at issue in Godinez. (249) The Godinez Court explained that the states are free to adopt higher competency requirements, but due process does not compel Compel - COMpute ParallEL them to do so. Godinez v. Moran, 113 S. Ct. 2680, 2688 (1993). (250) Reason, 334 N.E.2d at 574. (251) The trial court explicitly determined that Moran had "knowingly and intelligently" waived his right to counsel and had "freely and voluntarily" entered his guilty plea, but these findings were not disputed in Godinez. Godinez, 113 S. Ct. at 2683. (252) Id. at 2687. (253) Id. at 2695 n.4 (Blackmun, J., dissenting). (254) See supra notes 59-62 and accompanying text. (255) 113 S. Ct. 2680 (1993).