Opinion of the Court
cation of the clear and convincing evidence standard does not violate due process. 516 U. S. 910 (1995).
No one questions the existence of the fundamental right that petitioner invokes. We have repeatedly and consistently recognized that "the criminal trial of an incompetent defendant violates due process." Medina v. California, 505 U. S. 437, 453 (1992); Drope v. Missouri, 420 U. S. 162, 171- 172 (1975); Pate v. Robinson, 383 U. S. 375, 378 (1966). Nor is the significance of this right open to dispute. As Justice Kennedy recently emphasized:
"Competence to stand trial is rudimentary, for upon it depends the main part of those rights deemed essential to a fair trial, including the right to effective assistance of counsel, the rights to summon, to confront, and to cross-examine witnesses, and the right to testify on one's own behalf or to remain silent without penalty for doing so. Drope v. Missouri, 420 U. S. 162, 171-172 (1975)." Riggins v. Nevada, 504 U. S. 127, 139-140 (1992) (opinion concurring in judgment).4
The test for incompetence is also well settled. A defendant may not be put to trial unless he " 'has sufficient present ability to consult with his lawyer with a reasonable degree of rational understanding . . . [and] a rational as well as factual understanding of the proceedings against him.' " Dusky v. United States, 362 U. S. 402, 402 (1960) (per curiam).5
4 Indeed, the right not to stand trial while incompetent is sufficiently important to merit protection even if the defendant has failed to make a timely request for a competency determination. See Pate v. Robinson, 383 U. S. 375, 384 (1966).
5 The Oklahoma statute defines competence as "the present ability of a person arrested for or charged with a crime to understand the nature of the charges and proceedings brought against him and to effectively andPage: Index Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Next
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