The Intercept discusses the vagueness of the concept of “competency” and why people on death row who are deemed to be mentally ill get little sympathy.
“When we do a competency exam, it’s always competency to do such-and-such,” psychiatrist Terry Kupers tells The Intercept. “And there are standards that are different. For instance, there is a standard for competency to stand trial; it’s spelled out legally. Then there’s another issue: if an individual wants to stand trial and act as their own attorney, then we have another level of competency. Well, the lowest standard there is, is the standard to be executed — it’s just, basically, minimal.”
Why Is It So Easy for States to Execute the Mentally Ill? (The Intercept, May 20, 2015)