Question of competence puts trials on hold

- Defendant Darrell Gadson is accused of killing his cousin but was found by doctors to be unfit to stand trial. Now he will go to a state hospital for treatment, but it doesn’t mean he’s off the hook.

The charges remain until a doctor feels he is mentally capable of understanding the trial process. But that could take months or years.

Gadson's pre-trial behavior was strange enough to lead to a competency test. 

He wanted to represent himself and lashed out at his attorney.

"I don't want you to speak for me, I don't want you to be my attorney, I don't want you to represent me," Gadson said. "I want you to go up there and tell the judge I want to represent myself."

After doctors determined Gadson was unfit to stand trial, he was sent to a state hospital where doctors would work to help him regain competency. If and when that time comes, he would stand trial for his cousin's murder.

"If this individual doesn't understand what he's charged with... then he can't make rational decisions on whether or not to enter a plea, whether or not to proceed to trial," attorney Anthony Rickman explained.

Rickman says this is different from being found mentally insane by a jury. In that situation, once a jury has heard the case and is asked to return a verdict, they decide the defendant did not know right from wrong while committing a crime.

Sometimes defendants, like Gadson get better and come back.

Sometimes they don't get better, but, in this case, the charges remain pending the person regaining their competence.

As for Gadson, he will be checked by a doctor one more time. If he is fit, a trial date will be set soon.

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