Willamette Law Online

United States Supreme Court Certiorari Granted


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Kansas v. Cheever

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: February 25, 2013
Case #: 12-609
Court Below: Supreme Court of Kansas, 284 P.3d 1007 (2012)
Full Text Opinion: http://www.kscourts.org/Cases-and-Opinions/Opinions/SupCt/2012/20120824/99988.pdf

Criminal Procedure: Whether the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination was violated when the state used a court-ordered mental evaluation to rebut the defendant's expert testimony that claimed the defendant lacked the requisite mental state to commit capital murder due to methamphetamine use.

Two police officers attempted to detain Respondent pursuant to an arrest warrant. Respondent shot the officers, killing one and severely injuring the other. The state charged Respondent with capital murder and attempted murder. Respondent introduced expert testimony which claimed he could not form the requisite specific intent due to his voluntary intoxication by methamphetamine. The prosecution rebutted the expert testimony with a court-ordered mental evaluation. The court-ordered evaluation concluded that methamphetamine did not have a significant impact on the respondent’s mental state and that specific intent could be formed. The jury found Respondent guilty. The Supreme Court of Kansas reversed, holding that the respondent did not waive his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination when he presented evidence of voluntary intoxication. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari to determine whether the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination was violated when the state used a court-ordered mental evaluation to rebut the defendant's expert testimony.

On appeal, the State relies on Buchanan v. Kentucky, 483 U.S. 402 (1987) which held that court-ordered competency examinations could be used by the prosecution if the defendant requested such evaluation or presented psychiatric evidence, and argues the defense of voluntary intoxication and use of expert testimony on the Respondent’s mental state negated his Fifth Amendment right to self-incrimination.