competency to stand trial
Anthony M. Tarescavage, PhD
The purpose of a competency to stand trial evaluation is to determine if a criminal defendant 1) adequately understands the nature and objective of the legal proceedings against them and 2) can adequately assist their counsel in their defense. Dr. Tarescavage has published several peer-reviewed research articles involving individuals involved in competency to stand trial evaluations. Learn more about CST assessments from the ORC Code.
Prior to their assessment with Dr. Tarescavage, the criminal defendant will complete a brief history questionnaire. The in-person component of the evaluation lasts approximately 2.0 hours and begins with an overview of the purpose of the evaluation as well as a review of the limitations on confidentiality. After introductions, the criminal defendant typically completes one-hour of psychological testing. This testing generally includes the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-3 (MMPI-3), a widely-used and well-validated psychological test. This testing provides a comprehensive and objective foundation for a well-informed and impartial clinical interview. After testing is completed, Dr. Tarescavage conducts the clinical interview. The first part of the interview involves the collection of background information (family, educational, medical, employment, military, legal, and substance use). The second part of the interview is the diagnostic assessment. Dr. Tarescavage will assess the evaluee’s symptoms, the course of their problems, and impairment. Next, Dr. Tarescavage conducts the competency assessment using a structured interview test (Revised-Competency Assessment Instrument). Finally, Dr. Tarescavage gives the evaluee preliminary feedback on their assessment results. However, Dr. Tarescavage will never give feedback on his opinion regarding the criminal defendant’s compentency to stand trial. After the in-person evaluation is completed, Dr. Tarescavage will conduct a record review and collateral contact process (if applicable) and write a 6 to 8 page report detailing his findings and opinions. The referral source will receive the report within three business days of the evaluation (assuming additional records do not need to be requested). If the evaluee is interested in obtaining a copy of the evaluation, they will need to contact the referral source.
These evaluations are criminal forensic assessments, which include competency to stand trial, not guilty by reason of insanity, mitigation of penalty, violence risk assessment, and intervention in lieu of conviction evaluations.