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Panetti Follow Up

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On remand after the U.S. Supreme Court decision last June in Panetti v. Quarterman, No. 06-6407, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas has found Scott Panetti to be competent to be executed. The decision, in two parts, is here and here. The bottom line:

Panetti was mentally ill when he committed his crime and continues to be mentally ill today. However, he has both a factual and rational understanding of his crime, his impending death, and the causal retributive connection between the two. Therefore, if any mentally ill person is competent to be executed for his crimes, this record establishes it is Scott Panetti.

Coincidentally, this order comes on the same day the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Indiana v. Edwards on whether the Faretta rule really does require states to allow marginally competent defendants to represent themselves, the source of much controversy in Panetti's case, although not the issue before the Supreme Court in that case.

2 Comments

the links above named "here" and "here" both take you to Panetti Part 1, but not to worry, because by going to the part 1 web address, one can access Panetti part 2 simply by deleting "1" from the web address and inserting "2", the hitting return

[Thanks. It's fixed. -- KS]

Faretta is one of those cases with the best of intentions that has had a terrible impact in folks like Panetti. It is still my opinion that Panetti shouldn't have been declared competent to stand trial. Perhaps the Court can improve the situation when it issues its decision in Indiana v. Edwards.

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