The Joke's on Who?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

It is hard to know which group -- lawyers or psychiatrists -- got it worse from Supreme Court justices during oral arguments yesterday in Indiana v. Edwards. The court was considering whether a mentally ill defendant judged competent to stand trial may be denied the right to represent himself. Indiana believes he must show he is able to "communicate coherently" with the jury.

First up, Justice Antonin Scalia:

" Cannot communicate coherently? I sometimes think that the lawyers cannot communicate coherently."

Next up, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, upon being told the defendant had a grasp of legal terminology:

"There are all kinds of nuts who could get 90 percent on the bar exam."

And back to Scalia, exasperated after his colleagues refer to psychiatric studies about defendants:

"Are there any psychiatric studies that show how accurate psychiatric studies are?"

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