Executing the Mentally Ill: When Is someone Sane Enough to Die?

By Michael Mello / Criminal Justice, on 1 January 2007

Mental illness is a phenomenon that knifes across the entire corpus of our criminal justice system. From interrogations and waivers of Miranda rights, to consent to searches and seizures, to plea negotiations and the capacity to stand trial, to calculating sentences and participating in appellate and postconviction proceedings, mental illness warps the machinery of our criminal law and challenges its most cherished assumptions about free will, decisional competence, and culpability. This is so regardless of whether or not life hangs in the balance. But when the stakes are life and death, the structural distortions caused by mental illness become magnified, and the contradictions can rise to constitutional magnitude.

  • Document type Article
  • Countries list United States
  • Themes list Mental Illness,