Professor Susanna Blumenthal
Susanna Blumenthal
William Prosser Professor of Law and Professor of History
Co-Director of the Program in Law and History

Prof. Blumenthal Quoted in Star Tribune on Criminal Trials

Professor Susanna Blumenthal was quoted in a Star Tribune article entitled "Anoka County's Silent Inmate Flummoxes Authorities." The article detailed the case of a 37-year-old nurse apprehended for burglary who refused to allow police to take fingerprints or a mug shot, will not respond in court unless addressed as "Jane Doe," and has refused to cooperate with county experts attempting to determine her competency to stand trial. In view of the stakes of criminal trials, Blumenthal explained, courts have elaborated rules and procedures to distinguish real from feigned incompetence, but judges find them difficult to implement where the defendant is uncooperative. Moreover, Blumenthal noted that even where a defendant has been positively diagnosed with a mental illness, thorny legal questions remain as to how long a defendant can be detained for purposes of resolving the competency question and whether a defendant can be compelled to submit to treatment or take medication in order to be rendered competent to stand trial.