Should Schizophrenia Patients be allowed to Waive Counsel & Represent Themself in Court?
Identification of the Problem
The right to self-representation is supposed to be guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment, but, in cases where the mental competency of the defendant is in question, the legitimacy of the certiorari petition is also called into question. When defendant Ahmad Edwards was charged with attempted murder, battery with a deadly weapon, criminal recklessness, and theft in 1999, the trial court declared him incompetent to stand trial after two impartial psychiatrists found him to be schizophrenic (Ahmad Edwards v. State of Indiana). However, when the defendant was found to be of sound enough mind to stand trial, he was continually denied his constitutional right to self-representation on the grounds that he was not mentally capable of providing himself the best defense. The denial of the right to self-representation is an issue amongst schizophrenic or mentally challenged individuals since it is also the duty of the court to ensure that the accused is afforded a fair trial that includes the sufficient legal representation. This discourse will present the argument that anyone found to be of sound enough mind to stand trial, under the statutes that follow this determination, should also be allowed to argue their own case should they so choose.