An analogue study of the factors influencing competency decisions.

R. K. Blashfield, L. Robbins and G. W. Barnard,
Bull. Amer. Acad. Psychiatry & the Law 22(4): 587-94, 1994.
Forensic psychiatrists who were members of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law analyzed case histories to make a competency or incompetency decision. The case histories were created to alter background information, diagnostic information, information about the defendants' understanding of the adversarial process, courtroom behavior, and the nature of the crime. The information that had the most influence on the decisions of the forensic psychiatrists included the cognitive status of the defendant, psychotic features, courtroom behavior, and understanding of the adversarial process. Relationship with the lawyer, alcohol/drug use history, psychiatric history, and criminal history had less influence. The forensic psychiatrists tended to "error" toward a decision for competency unless compelling evidence was presented to the contrary.