The impairment level was much higher and more in-line with a adult person evaluated as incompetent to the task of standing trial. The assessment showed that adolescent’s had a tendency far greater than young adults to make decisions regarding plea agreement testimony that was based on complying with authority figures indicative to immature psychosocial influences.
The legal standard recognizes psychosocial immaturity as a precursor of incompetence to stand trial. This legal standard raises the question as to whether or not youths are psychosocially and mentally capable of effectively participating in trials. The constitutional requirement is to be able to sufficiently assist counsel and to have a basic cognition of the trial proceedings and, to be a partaker in making decisions about the rights afforded all defendants, (Dusky v. U.S., 1960: Godinez v. Moran, 1993).
Furthermore, there seems to be very little acknowledgment that youths in criminal court may be incompetent because of developmental immaturity, (Bonnie & Grisso, 2000; Redding & Frost, 2002). It is clear that competence to stand trial when evaluating juveniles poses a plethora of challenges to the court clinicians. A primary issue is that, children and adolescents present with clinical differences that are not seen with adults. The legal statues including case law have been designed with the adult in mind. The examiner must then ask if they need to exercise the same threshold during the appliance of these legal standards when accessing juveniles.
Other important analysis for the examiner to make include the comparison of functional abilities of juveniles to those of competent adults and, “do the threshold’s levels for adjudicative competence become more severe as a case grows. (Thomas Riffin, Psy.D.) Another outstanding difference between juvenile & adult is the fact the neurological higher cognitive functioning, “executive functioning,” develops