Cooper v. Oklahoma, 517 U.S. 348, 5 (1996)

Page:   Index   Previous  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  Next



Opinion of the Court

presently incompetent and unable to communicate effectively with counsel, but that he could probably achieve competence within six weeks if treated aggressively. While stating that he did not dispute the psychologist's diagnosis, the trial judge ruled against petitioner. In so holding, however, the court voiced uncertainty:

"Well, I think I've used the expression . . . in the past that normal is like us. Anybody that's not like us is not normal, so I don't think normal is a proper definition that we are to use with incompetence. My shirtsleeve opinion of Mr. Cooper is that he's not normal. Now, to say he's not competent is something else.

. . . . . "But you know, all things considered, I suppose it's possible for a client to be in such a predicament that he can't help his defense and still not be incompetent. I suppose that's a possibility, too.

"I think it's going to take smarter people than me to make a decision here. I'm going to say that I don't believe he has carried the burden by clear and convincing evidence of his incompetency and I'm going to say we're going to go to trial." Id., at 42-43.

on that rail. So I've got him up on the rail and I'm thinking, hey, what can I lose? Let me just see what he does now because he can go no further back, but as the Court knows, there's a space of about two-and-a-half feet behind this rail and a marble wall.

"Without looking for his safety at all and looking what's behind him, when I moved the least bit and I didn't move very far towards him, he fell to get away from me. He fell. He hit his head. The thud on that marble when he jackknifed backward off of that railing into that marble could be heard at the back of that courtroom. . . .

"We got him back up here in the witness enclave, he's just busted his head, tears are streaming down his eyes and he does not respond in any normal fashion." App. 37-38.

Page:   Index   Previous  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  Next

Last modified: October 4, 2007