Kalbeitzer, R., & Benedetti, R. (2009). Assessment of Competency to Stand Trial in Individuals with Mental
Retardation. Journal of Forensic Psychology Practice, 9(3), 237-248.
The basic components of the legal standard for competency to stand trial inherently emphasize the importance of cognitive capacities. However, extant research reflects that forensic evaluators specifically attend to cognitive limitations less frequently than to other factors, such as psychopathology, in their assessments. In addition, individuals with mental retardation are frequently under-identified within the criminal justice system and are more likely to be referred for competency evaluations if they have an accompanying psychiatric illness. However, individuals with mental retardation present with a unique set of characteristics that may impair their competency to stand trial, even without symptoms of mental illness. This case report highlights the specific impairments in individuals with mental retardation and discusses possible implications of those impairments on their competency to stand trial. In addition, this article offers suggestions about how to communicate the impact of those factors in a forensic evaluation.
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