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Casey Anthony Competent for Trial, Dr. Says

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By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on June 27, 2011 1:29 PM

Psychologists have found Casey Anthony competent to stand trial. Casey Anthony's mental competency had come into question after her defense filed a motion for an evaluation.

Three court psychologists evaluated Anthony over the weekend, and all three found her competent. The presiding judge in the case made this announcement before the jury was seated.

If she had been found mentally incompetent, the trial would have been delayed.

A determination of mental competency is different than a determination of insanity. Jared Loughner, arrested and charged for the Tucson shootings that killed six people and injured others, including congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, was recently declared mentally incompetent to stand trial. He was sent back to a federal facility where he would be re-evaluated in a few months.

Like in Loughner's case, if Anthony was found to be mentally incompetent, she would likely have been sent to a facility, delaying the trial until evaluation showed she was mentally competent to stand trial.

Mental competency has all to do with whether or not the accused is able to understand the legal proceedings. There is no judgment on whether or not he defendant is guilty or innocent - instead the mental evaluation is simply meant to make sure that the defendant is able to understand what is going on around them.

For the defense, a ruling of mental incompetency would have likely worked in their favor. The delay in the trial could have allowed the defense to reorganize their strategy, and maybe also move away from some of the opening statements that likely both shocked jurors and boxed the defense in.

The defense had opened with statements that Anthony's daughter had drowned, her brother and father helped her dispose of the body, and that Anthony was molested by her father as a child, reports ABC News.

However, since Casey Anthony is competent to stand trial, the defense will have to continue with their strategy. Though a ruling that Casey Anthony was not mentally competent might have bought the defense some time, the trial will go on - whether the defense likes it or not.

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