Commonwealth v. Vailles

Drug Court

Commonwealth v. Vailles

Case Year: 
1971
State of Origin: 
Massachusetts

The test to be applied in determining the competence of the defendant is "whether he has sufficient present ability to consult with his lawyer with a reasonable degree of rational understanding and whether he has a rational as well as factual understanding of the proceedings against him."  [Citing: Dusky v. United States, 362 U.S. 402(1960)].

It has long been the law of this Commonwealth that the "trial, conviction or sentencing of a person charged with a criminal offence while he is legally incompetent violates his constitutional rights of due process" (footnote omitted), whether under the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States or under art. 12 of the Declaration of Rights of the Constitution of this Commonwealth.  (Federal equivalent: Pate v. Robinson, 383 U.S. 375 (1966)

The trial, conviction or sentencing of a person charged with a criminal offence while he is legally incompetent violates his constitutional rights of due process.)