The Nature of Competence to Participate in Adjudication
The requirement that criminal defendants be competent to participate in the adjudication of their cases is deeply rooted in Anglo-American law. Scholars generally agree that the underlying goal has been to promote fairness in the criminal justice system (Melton, Petrila, Poythress, & Slobogin, 1997). Subsidiary to the promotion of fairness, competent participation of defendants has several distinct purposes: to enhance the accuracy of factual determinations; to preserve the dignity of the criminal process; and to promote the defendant’s exercise of self-determination in making important decisions in his defense (Bonnie, 1990).
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- 8.An instance of “hard paternalism” is when one overrides the wishes of a competent actor who has made a voluntary choice on the ground that what the person wants to do is not in his or her best interests. Libertarians who object to hard paternalism will usually accept some form of “soft” paternalism under which the intervention is made because the subject is not competent to decide what is in his or her best interests or because of some other defect of voluntariness. The residual controversies relate to the definition of the conditions which justify paternalistic interventions (e.g. impairment of decisional abilities). See generally, Feinberg (1986), pp. 12–16.Google Scholar