More Declared Mentally Incompetent to Stand Trial - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

More Declared Mentally Incompetent to Stand Trial

Randall County District Attorney James Farren Randall County District Attorney James Farren

What many use to get out of going to trial ends up wasting your tax dollars.

The number of people declared mentally incompetent to go to trial is increasing. But in Texas, the trend is on the decline.

Criminal defendants who do not understand the legal process against them are declared mentally incompetent to stand trial by the judge. They then are taken to a mental health facility for treatment.

After that, they go back to court, the judge hears expert testimony and is declared competent or incompetent.

No matter how many times they go for treatment, they ultimately go to trial. And each time, the taxpayer is footing the bill. Randall County District Attorney James Farren says, "it's expensive, the treatment, the trips, the cost of the hearing...it's expensive."

Farren says while there are some defendants that are clearly incompetent, others use it as a ploy to delay prosecution. He says, "we encounter a lot of people who are fine, they just don't like the prospect of a trial."

Farren says delaying prosecution is always in the interest of the defense because it buys them time...and those delays always end up costing the county, and in turn taxpayers, a lot of money.

 

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