Jacksonville’s elderly are some of the wisest of our individuals in the city. However, age brings more than just wisdom. Unfortunately for some, wisdom is coupled with illnesses and ailments that make one’s mind not as able to reason as it could in years before. However, when these illnesses cause one to make a decision not of their own volition, one should contact an experienced attorney to fight for one’s case and ensure one’s rights are protected.
According to the Florida Times-Union, Amanda Celestine Rice Stevenson, a 96-year-old woman from St. Augustine, has been found incompetent to stand trial in the shooting death of her nephew Johnny Rice. The charge came after an ongoing dispute ended in Stevenson allegedly shooting Rice in the chest with a .357-caliber handgun. A hearing has been set to determine where Stevenson will be placed if she will never be able to competently stand trial.
Jacksonville felony violent crimes are typically crimes of passion, based on a lack of reason that a normal calm objective individual would have. However, that reason can be stripped from an individual without any control on their own. Illnesses such as Alzheimer’s, Dementia, and other untreatable mental ailments can cause someone to not know what they are doing. However, an illness such as this would provide someone with an invaluable defense: incompetency.
Competency in the law is a major issue that will determine whether a person can stand trial and subsequently being sentenced as a sane individual. One is declared incompetent in a legal proceeding when one is not able to comprehend the nature or consequences of the legal proceeding and is not able to help one’s attorney with one’s defense. A person diagnosed with a debilitating disease such as dementia or other mental illness can be considered incompetent in a legal proceeding.
If one’s self as well as one’s attorney believes that the best course of action for one’s case is to be declared incompetent by the Court, there are certain hurdles that will have to be crossed. One’s attorney will first file a motion for a competency hearing, then obtain a psychological or psychiatric evaluation, and then finally stand for the competency hearing. At that point, if the Judge presiding over the competency hearing believes one to be incompetent, one will be committed to a hospital for no more than four months, to make sure that competency can
Many times, the State will attempt to prove that an individual who sincerely had no knowledge, ability or understanding of their actions to be completely sane, and thus hammer the accused for a crime that they did not mean to commit. However, if one obtains an experienced Jacksonville felony violent crimes attorney to fight for one’s case, one can ensure that one’s defenses will be known and used to mount the best defense possible to fight one’s charge and make sure that one will have the best outcome.
In Stevenson’s case, it is not hard to prove that she was incompetent to stand trial because of her age and other factors that would influence her mental capacity that her attorney would have had to show the court to prove incompetency. However, if the mental hospital can improve her, the Prosecutor responsible for her case could in fact lock a 96-year-old woman up in jail for the remainder her few years. One should not let this happen in one’s own case.
The Forbess Law Firm has been aiding clients who face criminal charges in Jacksonville for more than a decade and are here to provide aggressive criminal defense to anyone accused of a crime. If you or a loved one require a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, contact our firm today. We are available through our website or by calling us at 904-634-0900.
Additional Source:96-year-old ruled incompetent in St. Augustine killing, Staff Report, The Florida Times-Union