How a defendant’s mental health can affect a trial
WGBH - 02/13/2018
WGBH legal analyst and Northeastern University law professor Daniel Medwed tells Morning Edition that there’s a lot of public confusion about how a defendant’s mental state can affect the way they’re treated by the courts.
For one, Medwed said, Sanders has to be determined to be mentally competent in order to stand trial or accept a plea bargain.
“The law requires that for a defendant to waive her constitutional right to a jury trial and enter a plea she has to do so knowingly, voluntarily, and intelligently,” said Medwed. “That could be a challenge, given [Sanders’] lengthy history of mental health issues.”