U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Feigning Incompetency to Stand Trial: An Investigation of the Georgia Court Competency Test

NCJ Number
Law and Human Behavior Volume: 19 Issue: 4 Dated: (August 1995) Pages: 363-373
S Gothard; R Rogers; K W Sewell
Date Published
11 pages
The Georgia Court Competency Test (GCCT) was administered to offenders who were asked to feign incompetency to stand trial, and the results were compared to control and pretrial defendants (both competent and incompetent).
Participants were recruited from the San Diego Forensic Evaluation Unit, a unit that evaluates inmates referred by courts for pretrial assessments. All participants were independently evaluated on issues of malingering and competency to stand trial. The total sample consisted of 108 males with a mean age of 32 years. Findings demonstrated that offenders appeared to be able to simulate incompetency and tended to score lower on the GCCT than their truly incompetent counterparts. A newly developed Atypical Presentation Scale for the GCCT showed promise in detecting simulators. Additionally, several strategies were explored that included simulator failure of very simple items, such as floor effect, and variable success on items of increasing difficulty. The authors conclude that persons with experience in the criminal justice system can easily modify their responses on the GCCT to the point that they could be categorized as incompetent. Optimum cutting scores are presented for forensic clinicians to use in screening defendants for feigned incompetency. An appendix lists questions asked of study participants. 23 references and 3 tables


No download available