Public evaluations of unrepresented defendants.
R. D. Miller, J. Olin, G. Beven and J. Covey,
Bull. Amer. Acad. Psychiatry & the Law
23(1): 93-103, 1995.
Previous articles have addressed the ethical and legal issues involved when private psychiatrists
perform forensic evaluations on criminal defendants before the defendants have access to counsel;
but there have been few studies addressing evaluations requested through public facilities and by
clinicians other than psychiatrists. The authors present the results of a detailed study of defendants
admitted for evaluations of competency to proceed to a forensic inpatient unit in one state, as well
as data from a national survey of state forensic facilities. The studies were designed to measure the
incidence of unrepresented defendants in a population referred for competency evaluation, as well
as to examine the reasons for such occurrences. The data reveal that court-ordered evaluations of
unrepresented defendants are rare, but continue to exist.