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Analysis Of John Salvi's Competency To Stand Trial

analytical Essay
969 words
969 words
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When a person is accused of a crime, it is the responsibility of a judge to deem them competent to stand trial, mentally unstable to at the time of their trial, or not guilty by reason of insanity. This was something that was highly disputed during and after the case of John Salvi. John Salvi was an anti-abortionist of strong Catholic faith who shot and killed two people in attacks at Planned Parenthood clinics. Throughout the trial, defense attorneys attempted to argue Salvi was suffering from psychological disorders that would make him incompetent for trial. Ultimately, however Salvi was found competent to stand trial. After reading Salvi’s full psychiatric interview, the official court transcript of the four-day competency hearing, and the day-to-day summary; I have come to agree that the defendant, John Salvi was competent to stand trial. Competency to …show more content…

In this essay, the author

  • Opines that when a person is accused of crime, it is the responsibility of the judge to deem them competent to stand trial, mentally unstable, or not guilty by reason of insanity. this was highly disputed during and after the case of john salvi
  • Analyzes how defense attorneys tried to argue that john salvi was suffering from psychological disorders that would make him incompetent for trial.
  • Explains that competency to stand trial relates directly to the defendant's mental state at the time of trial and during the proceedings.
  • Analyzes how john salvi showed competency in not one, but multiple areas. he knew the charges that were being brought against him.
  • Analyzes how john salvi understood right from wrong when asked hypothetical questions. his responses of mailing the letter and advising someone of the fire or opening the exits showed higher thinking and an understanding of helping others.
  • Analyzes how salvi argued on his own that he was competent to stand trial. he had experienced hallucinations regarding a black bird and evil voices reported by his parents and one other interviewed witness.
  • Analyzes how the defense team tried to argue that salvi's competency was how he often seemed stuck on a topic and would experience explosions in his responses.
  • Opines that the judge was correct in ruling that john salvi was competent to stand trial. however, insanity defense still needs to be researched.

In fact, he stated multiple times that he considered himself competent. Although in the competency trial, it was brought up that Salvi had experienced hallucinations regarding a black bird and evil voices reported by his parents and one other interviewed witness. Although these claims were made, Salvi expressed that he had never experienced hallucinations, voices, or visions. He also stated that he did not have special powers and had never even had a consultation with a psychologist. Furthermore, Bridgewater State Hospital’s evaluation did not report any signs of hallucinations, voices, and even Schizophrenia, which the defense tried to claim he was suffering from. One other area where the defense team tried to argue Salvi’s competency was how he often seemed stuck on a topic and would experience explosions in his responses. However, the psychiatrist argued that although Salvi experienced delusions and seemed to be abrupt in his responses, these explosions were elective and not an involuntary symptom of a psychological

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