Dusky v. United States (1960)
Milton Dusky kidnapped a 15-year-old girl whom he transported from Kansas to Missouri and then raped. He was arrested and was referred for a mental health evaluation. A psychiatrist testified that Dusky was “unable to properly understand the proceedings against him and unable to adequately assist counsel in his defense” due to severe mental illness. Despite this testimony, Dusky was ruled to be competent to stand trial because he was oriented and able to provide some details regarding the kidnapping incident. Dusky was convicted of kidnapping and sentenced. The US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit upheld the decision. However, the US Supreme Court reviewed the case and overturned the conviction and sent the case back to the trial court for a new competency assessment. At the retrial, Dusky’s sentence was reduced from 45 to 20 years. The US Supreme Court asserted that “It is not enough for the district judge to find that the defendant is oriented to time and place and...
References and Readings
- Dusky v. U.S. 362 US 402 (1960).Google Scholar
- Estelle v. Smith, 451 U.S. 454 (1981).Google Scholar
- Marcopulos, B. A., Morgan, J. E., & Denney, R. L. (2008). Neuropsychological evaluation of competency to proceed. In R. Denney & J. Sullivan (Eds.), Clinical neuropsychology in the criminal forensic setting. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Poythress, N. G., Nicholson, R., Otto, R. K., et al. (1999). The MacArthur competence assessment tool-criminal adjudication (MacCat-CA). Odessa: Psychological Assessment Resources.Google Scholar
- Zapf, P. A., & Roesch, R. (2009). Evaluation of competence to stand trial. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar