Alec Baldwin testified recently in the ongoing stalking trial. Genevieve Sabourin, the defendant, apparently is enjoying the attention she is getting.
As a criminal defense attorney, it seems to me that Ms. Sabourin’s case demonstrates the difficult time the justice system has with these types of cases. Ms. Sabourin has been removed from the courtroom for disruptive behavior. Her lawyers have had to drag her from the courthouse steps where she was engaging with the media. It is fairly apparent that something is wrong with this woman.
However, the standard for competency is set very low. In Arizona, criminal defendants must merely understand the nature of the proceedings and be able to assist their counsel in preparation of their defense. My guess is that Ms. Sabourin is capable of passing those two tests.
But there clearly is a class of defendant that suffers from mental illness but is technically “competent.” Prisons are practically bursting with this type of inmate. I say that it’s time to develop another category of culpability. Let’s avoid future spectacles like Ms. Sabourin’s trial, and find a way to get these people the treatment that they deserve.
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