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.