Supreme Court Justices Appear Divided Over Defendants’ Right To Independent Mental Health Expert
The high court heard arguments as to whether an Alabama death-row inmate was entitled to a psychologist who would be on his side, not a state-appointed one.
The Washington Post:
Supreme Court To Decide Whether Defendants Are Entitled To A Mental-Health Expert On Their Side
The Supreme Court’s liberals and conservatives seemed to disagree Monday on whether an Alabama inmate was entitled to a mental-health expert who would be on his side in fighting the state’s attempt to sentence him to death. The justices were examining James McWilliams’s 1986 death sentence and an even older Supreme Court precedent. But their decision will be immediately relevant. The Arkansas Supreme Court recently stayed the execution of two men on its death row until the justices decide McWilliams v. Dunn. (Barnes, 4/24)
The Associated Press:
Justices Weigh Defendants' Right To Own Mental Health Expert
The court has ruled previously that poor defendants whose mental health might be a factor in the criminal charges they are facing have a right to an expert's evaluation. The justices are deciding whether the expert must be independent of the prosecution. The outcome also could affect two Arkansas inmates who were spared execution last week by the Arkansas Supreme Court while the nation's highest court considers the issue. (Sherman, 4/24)