Indiana v. Edwards (2008)

Supreme Court of the United States

Indiana v. Ahmad Edwards 

Decided June 19, 2008 – 554 U.S. 164


Justice BREYER delivered the opinion of the Court.

This case focuses upon a criminal defendant whom a state court found mentally competent to stand trial if represented by counsel but not mentally competent to conduct that trial himself. We must decide whether in these circumstances the Constitution prohibits a State from insisting that the defendant proceed to trial with counsel, the State thereby denying the defendant the right to represent himself. We conclude that the Constitution does not forbid a State so to insist.

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Our next case concerns eyewitness identifications evidence. We will examine first when the Court has held that a suspect has the right to have counsel attend an identification procedure such as a lineup. Then we will consider substantive regulations on the quality of such procedures, along with best practices for identifications suggested by modern social science. 


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