Justices to Look at Meth User's Competency Exam
WASHINGTON (CN) - The Supreme Court said Monday that it will decide whether a court-ordered mental examination unfairly forced a man to incriminate himself.
Scott Cheever had shot and killed the sheriff of Greenwood County, Kans., after getting high on methamphetamine in January 2005. He had also shot at other law enforcement officers.
Charged with capital murder and attempted capital murder, Cheever tried to argue that his drug use had rendered him incapable of forming the necessary premeditation. The trial court ordered a psychiatric examination, and prosecutors used this study to impeach Cheever's testimony.
Ultimately, a jury convicted Cheever of capital murder, four counts of attempted capital murder, criminal possession of a firearm based on a previous felony conviction for aggravated robbery and manufacture of methamphetamine.
He was sentenced to death, but the Kansas Supreme Court reversed the murder and attempted murder convictions in September 2012.
On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to resolve two issues related to the case:
"1. When a criminal defendant affirmatively introduces expert testimony that he lacked the requisite mental state to commit capital murder of a law enforcement officer due to the alleged temporary and long-term effects of the defendant's methamphetamine use, does the state violate the defendant's Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination by rebutting the defendant's mental state defense with evidence from a court-ordered mental evaluation of the defendant?
"2. When a criminal defendant testifies in his own defense, does the State violate the Fifth Amendment by impeaching such testimony with evidence from a court-ordered mental evaluation of the defendant?"
Per its custom, the justices did not issue any comment in granting a writ of certiorari. They also granted Cheever leave to proceed in forma pauperis.