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Justice and the Deconstruction of Psychological Jurisprudence: The Case of Competency to Stand Trial

NCJ Number
Theoretical Criminology Volume: 7 Issue: 1 Dated: February 2003 Pages: 55-88
Bruce A. Arrigo
Lynn Chancer, Tony Jefferson
Date Published
February 2003
34 pages
This article examines the competency to stand trial (CST) doctrine in the United States from the perspective of critical psychological jurisprudence, the interpretive insights of Derridean deconstruction.
In this article, the author deconstructs psychological jurisprudence by examining the competency to stand trial (CST) phenomenon in the United States. To facilitate this, the precedent case law on the subject is presented and reviewed. In addition selected principles from Derridean deconstruction are recounted and applied to the medicolegal narrative of CST. These practices include the reversal of hierarchies; difference and the trace; and arguments that undo themselves. The article begins with background comments on the CST determination and how it functions in the United States. It was demonstrated that the variable of discourse manufacturers sustains and reinforces a particular view of actors and events in mental health law and this articulated version, when unreflectively privileged, can and (does) have deleterious consequences for psychiatric citizens in a court of law. It is proposed that the philosophy of legal deconstruction represents a compelling approach in order to respond to the challenges of tomorrow. References