Foundational and Decisional Competencies

Competency to stand trial is one of the most important aspects of legal system because an accurate assessment of a person’s ability to stand the trial matters a lot in ensuring that fair and impartial treatment is given to everyone. According to the book on page#219, it says that Foundational competency is often referred to as the minimum condition or requirement to stand the trial whereas the decisional competencies often involve the ability of an individual to waive off some of the constitutional rights such as the right to have an attorney to pursue the case on behalf of the defendant.

It is also important to understand that foundational competency also implicitly outline that the individual must have the ability to understand the charges against him or her, primary information about the judicial system of the country as well as the ability to provide the basic information to one’s attorney.

On the other hand, decisional competency involves the ability of the individual to waive some of his or her constitutional rights such as waiver to stand in the trial or to have an attorney following the case. This also means that anyone who is competent enough to stand the trial must have the rights to decide whether to some of the constitutional rights or not thus decisional competency is often attributed to those individuals who have successfully passed the foundational competency stage. (Stafford,2003).

It is also however, critical to note that the issue of competence is complex and as such each individual may show a different level of reaction to each situation and thus competence shall always be referred to as the present and not any other time to effectively judge and determine the competence of the individual. References: 1. Stafford, Katherine Powers (2003). ”Assessment of Competence to stand Trial”,(Alan M Goldstein & Irving B Weiner Ed) Handbook of Psychology, Forensic Psychology, New York. John Willey & Sons