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Psychiatr Serv. 2007 Oct;58(10):1258-60.

Law & psychiatry: Death row delusions: when is a prisoner competent to be executed?

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1
Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA. psa21@columbia.edu

Abstract

This column examines a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in Panetti v. Quarterman, which embraced a broader view of what makes death row prisoners incompetent to be executed. Although the defendant understood that he was to be executed and the state's purported reason for seeking his death--two criteria suggested by the Court's 1986 decision in Ford v. Wainwright--he suffered from a fixed delusion about the actual reason for his death. The Court indicated that competent prisoners must have a "rational understanding" of the reason that a death penalty is being imposed but declined to define a clear standard.

PMID:
17913998
DOI:
10.1176/ps.2007.58.10.1258
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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