Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Court-Ordered Psychological Examination Admissible to Rebut Mental Status Defense (SCOTUS)

In a unanimous opinion, the Court held that “where a defense expert who has examined the defendant testifies that the defendant lacked the requisite mental state to commit a crime, the prosecution may offer evidence from a court-ordered psychological examination for the limited purpose of rebutting the defendant’s evidence.”

The Kansas Supreme Court had reversed Cheever’s conviction, holding that the admission of evidence form a court-ordered psychological examination violated Cheever’s Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.  In so doing, the Kansas Supreme Court distinguished Buchanan v. Kentucky, 483 U.S. 402 (1987), by finding that Cheever’s voluntary intoxication—his defense—was not a “mental disease or defect.”  The U.S. Supreme Court reversed and clarified that its holding in Buchanan is not limited to “mental disease or defect” defenses but rather “mental status” defenses, which would include voluntary intoxication.

For more information, see the Cheever post on



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