Friday, January 3, 2014

United States Supreme Court Holds that a Forced Psychiatric Examination Can Be Used Against Defendant to Defeat his Intoxication Defense

In a case which seems to have eviscerated the Fifth Amendment right to remain silent the Supreme Court in Kansas v. Cheever held that admissions made by a court ordered psychiatric examination can be used against the Defendant even if he does not agree to the examination.

In this case Mr. Cheever was charged with capital murder at his trial he raised the voluntary intoxication defense and offered expert testimony that his sever voluntary use of methamphetamines to defeat the requisite mental state to commit murder.

The Court distinguished the seminal case Estelle v. Smith, 451 U.S. 454 (1981), which held that if the defendant does not raise a mental capacity defense the state cannot force the defendant to undergo a psychiatric examination, and by doing so violates the defendant’s Fifth Amendment right to remain silent.

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