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Criminal Law and Procedure

Law and Psychology

Selected Works

E. Lea Johnston

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Full-Text Articles in Law

Representational Competence: Defining The Limits Of The Right To Self-Representation At Trial, E. Lea Johnston Oct 2014

Representational Competence: Defining The Limits Of The Right To Self-Representation At Trial, E. Lea Johnston

E. Lea Johnston

In 2008, the Supreme Court held that the Sixth Amendment permits a trial court to impose a higher competence standard for self-representation than to stand trial. The Court declined to delineate a permissible representational competence standard but indicated that findings of incompetence based on a lack of decisionmaking ability would withstand constitutional scrutiny. To date, no court or commentator has suggested a comprehensive competence standard to address the particular decisional context of self-representation at trial. Conceptualizing self-representation as an exercise in problem solving, this Article draws upon social problem-solving theory to identify abilities necessary for autonomous decisionmaking. The Article develops …


Setting The Standard: A Critique Of Bonnie's Competency Standard And The Potential Of Problem-Solving Theory For Self-Representation At Trial, E. Lea Johnston Oct 2014

Setting The Standard: A Critique Of Bonnie's Competency Standard And The Potential Of Problem-Solving Theory For Self-Representation At Trial, E. Lea Johnston

E. Lea Johnston

In Indiana v. Edwards, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Sixth Amendment permits a trial court to impose a higher competency standard for self-representation than to stand trial. The Court declined to specify the contents of a permissible representational competence standard, but cited with support the construct of adjudicative competence developed by Professor Richard Bonnie. While Bonnie's proposal may provide an appropriate framework for evaluating the competence of represented defendants' decisions, it is at most a starting point for defining the capacities needed for self-representation at trial. This Article begins by exposing three reasons why Bonnie's approach is …