Is it illegal for a court to convict someone who is mentally retarded?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Is it illegal for a court to convict someone who is mentally retarded?

My girlfriend was diagnosed with metal retardation at the age of 16 by the Health and Welfare in Twin Falls Idaho she has recently been charged with a possession of a controlled substance during a house raid at a house in which we did not reside they very viciously drugged her out of the house hurting her ankles she has clear evidence from her doctor that they had in fact hurt her ankles on top of that she had just given birth 1 to 2 weeks prior well they had tricked her into signing a plea agreement is there any way that we can fight this

Asked on October 12, 2018 under Criminal Law, Idaho


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

It is only illegal IF it can be shown that your girlfriend is so impaired that she could not understand the nature of the proceedings or assist in her own defense or make informed choices about her case. But in that case, if she is impaired to that level--which would have to be shown by medical evidence and testimony in court; a "diagnosis of mental retardation" is not enough--that doesn't mean she avoids prosecution or goes free. Someone who is incompetent to stand trial may be remanded to a facility to care for her, since at that level of impairment, she may not be able to care for herself; or she may have a legal guardian appointed for her, to make decisions, including about where to live, spending money, medical care, etc. decisions for her. 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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