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ERIC Number: EJ897277
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Sep
Pages: 7
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 24
ISSN: ISSN-1040-3590
Adjudicative Competence: Evidence that Impairment in "Rational Understanding" Is Taxonic
Marcus, David K.; Poythress, Norman G.; Edens, John F.; Lilienfeld, Scott O.
Psychological Assessment, v22 n3 p716-722 Sep 2010
In "Dusky v. United States" (1960), the U.S. Supreme Court articulated 3 abilities that determine a criminal defendant's competence to stand trial: He or she must be able to consult with counsel, have a factual understanding of the proceedings, and have a rational understanding of the proceedings. Although the legal determination of a defendant's competence involves a dichotomous judgment, the latent structures of the constructs that underlie the abilities articulated in "Dusky" are unknown. The current study focused on the "rational understanding" prong of the "Dusky" standard. We hypothesized that, whereas factual knowledge of the legal system and ability to assist counsel may fall on a continuum, plausible (i.e., rational) beliefs about legal proceedings may be dichotomous in nature. Taxometric analyses of the Appreciation scale of the MacArthur Competence Assessment Tool-Criminal Adjudication, with a sample of 721 defendants, provided support for a taxonic structure. (Contains 2 figures and 9 footnotes.)
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A