Competency Training Program


The Purpose of competency training is to determine if the defendant has sufficient present ability to consult with his lawyer with a reasonable degree of rational understanding or if he has no rational, as well as factional understanding, of the proceedings against him.

The Community Based Trial Competency Training Program was developed to offer an alternative to involuntary commitment for a defendant who has been found incompetent to proceed to trial due to mental retardation. By participating in this program, the defendant is able to strengthen his/her knowledge of the legal process and court proceedings. It will also assist the defendant in becoming better prepared to actively participate in his/her defense and in understanding the ramification of the courts findings. Because this program will be community based, the defendant will be able to continue to reside in the community while receiving training. In order for a person to be allowed to participate in this training, the following conditions must exist:

  • The individual must have been tested by a licensed psychologist and a determination made indicating that the person meets the definition of mental retardation as defined in Chapter 383, Florida Statutes. The test instrument used must be selected from those mandated by Chapter 393, Florida Statutes, and cited in Rule 10F-12, F.A.C.
  • Results of psychological tests must indicate the individual is incompetent to proceed due to retardation. In making this determination, the psychologist should also request background information and a current psychosocial summary to be used in the evaluative process. This evaluation should include an assessment of the persons functional ability in the following areas:

    a.    Appreciation of charges
    b.    Appreciation of range and nature of possible penalties
    c.    Understanding of the adversary nature of the legal process
    d.    Capacity to disclose to attorney pertinent facts surrounding alleged offense
    e.    Ability to manifest appropriate courtroom behavior
    f.    Capacity to testify relevantly

  • The summary of the psychologists findings have been reviewed by the courts and the court has ordered the defendant to participate in this training.