How does the fact that an adult guardian was appointed affect a defendant's competence to stand trial? (Or does it have no affect?)
The fact that a guardian has been appointed to this adult should tell you s/he cannot handle his/her own affairs (financial, personal, etc.). Look at the Health and Human Services code (I think it is in there OR call your local MHMR agency-- they should be able to tell you where that specific provision is located.) But it seems to me there are a lot of different shades in the spectrum of mental disability. On the criminal side, we just have to ask: does the person understand the charges against him/her(the proceedings against him/her) & can they assist in their defense [CCP 46B]. So, I guess it just depends on how disabled the defendant is, in terms of mental health. Just keep in mind the definitions we in the criminal justice system are working with are probably different than the ones the guardianship people are working with. Hope that helps.
Agreed. I would also point out the guardianships are supposed to be tailored to be the least invasive oversight of a person's affairs needed. So if it is a guardianship just over their estate/financial affairs, that is one thing. But if it is broad and covers much of the daily decision-making in the course of the person's life, not just overseeing their money, that may tell you a lot about their degree of mental disability.
The legal questions/tests for guardianship are different from the tests/questions for competency. There is overlap, but not completely. One can be under guardianship and still be competent to stand trial, or the other way around (not competent but not under guardianship). Gotta look at the facts specific to the case.
That is what I was thinking. He has an attorney, I will let him decide if competency should be an issue.
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