Psychiatric Help: New tool for poor defendants

New tool for poor defendants

The vote was 8 to 1, and the majority opinion was cast in the sort of expansive language not usually found in the fractionated Supreme Court of late. "A criminal trial is fundamentally unfair," wrote Justice Thurgood Marshall, "if the state proceeds against an indigent defendant without making certain that he has access to the raw materials integral to the building of an effective defense." Specifically, said the court, defendants who plead not guilty by reason of insanity are entitled to a psychiatrist's help in preparing and presenting their cases.

The decision overturned the conviction and death sentence of Glen Burton...

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