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Opening Arguments

Fool for a client

The state would seem to be in a bind here:

Ahmad Edwards was convicted of attempted murder and other charges in 2005 for a shooting at an Indianapolis store.

He was initially found to be schizophrenic but by 2005, he was judged competent to stand trial.

The state denied Edwards' request to represent himself. Edwards was convicted and sentenced to 30 years in prison. He appealed and the Indiana courts agreed his right to represent himself had been violated.

You cannot logically say something is competent to stand trial and then deny him the right to defend himself. This is further proof that the legal concept of insanity and the medical concept of mental illness are going to have to be reconciled sooner or later.


Tue, 03/25/2008 - 9:17am

Since I don't practice criminal law, I'm not up on the legal jurisprudence with respect to insanity and self-representation. But, there is a logical basis for differing thresholds of competency for standing trial versus representing one's self.

To stand trial, I think you have to know right from wrong and be able to be of some assistance to your lawyer. Trying a case is a trickier proposition.

Leo Morris
Tue, 03/25/2008 - 9:42am

I've not heard that one wishing to be his own lawyer has to prove that he would be good at it.

Harl Delos
Tue, 03/25/2008 - 12:37pm