The Issue Of Mental Competency

1439 WordsJan 25, 20176 Pages
Mens rea is a very important aspect of the criminal justice system and it is really important when the issue of mental competency plays a factor in a criminal case. In the United States there are mental competency courts established in order to determine if the offender is found competent for trial. If they are not found competent then they are sent to a mental hospital in order to address their mental state. “Mens rea: In criminal law, the guilty mind. It refers to the intent that is needed in order to be found guilty of a crime” (Bartol, C. R., 10/2014). The first issue regarding mens rea is to determine the mind of the offender when they were committing the crime. Did the offender know what he was doing? Did the offender know what he…show more content…
The difference between acting intentionally and acting knowingly is somewhat subtle, but the following example should clear it up a little. Recklessness: A person acts recklessly if he is aware of a substantial risk that a certain result will occur as a result of his actions. The risk must be substantial enough that the action represents a gross deviation from what a reasonable law abiding person would do. The difference between recklessness and knowledge is that where a person acts knowingly he acts with the certainty that a certain result will follow from his actions. However, where a person acts recklessly, the person does not know for sure that a specific result will follow. Rather, he only knows that there is a substantial risk that the result will follow. For example: Negligence: A person acts negligently if they should have been aware of a substantial and unjustifiable risk that a certain consequence would result from their actions. Although the level of risk is the same for both recklessness and negligence, the difference between the two is that with recklessness, the actor must be aware of the risk involved with her actions, whereas, for negligence, the actor is not aware of the risks but should have known what those risks were”(National Paralegal College, 2017). In regards to the above four components it is very important that they are addressed and for defense attorneys that they can be proven. Knowledge is a big aspect of the
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