Ruling that Defendant Found Incompetent to Stand Trial Must Initially Be Hospitalized, Even if Unlikely to Be Restored to Competence, Not Disturbed

United States v. Ferro, 321 F.3d 756 (8th Cir. 2003), cert. denied, Ferro v. United States, 124 S. Ct. 296 (2003)

The Supreme Court declined to review a ruling of the Eighth Circuit that joined the First, Seventh, and Eleventh Circuits in holding that an initial period of hospitalization is mandatory for a criminal defendant in the federal system who has been found incompetent to stand trial, even when the evidence shows he is unlikely to be restored to competence.  The Eighth Circuit ruled the trial court did not have the discretion, prior to a reasonable period of hospitalization, to determine whether the defendant will likely attain the capacity to stand trial.  The court determined hospitalization permitted a more careful and accurate diagnosis; the limited length of the hospitalization, a maximum of four months, minimized the potential harm to the defendant; and the "miracles of science suggest that few conditions are truly without the possibility of improvement."...

Found in DMHL Volume 23 Issue 1