Pretrial Psychiatric Examination During a Capital Sentencing Proceeding
In Estelle v. Smith (1981) 451 U.S. 454, the trial court ordered an in-custody pretrial psychiatric examination of defendant to determine his competency to stand trial during a capital sentencing proceeding.
The defendant complained that his Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights were violated because (1) he was not advised of his Miranda rights and (2) he and his attorney were not told his statements made during the examination could be used during the capital sentencing proceedings to determine whether he should be sentenced to death.
The court in Estelle agreed that the defendant's Fifth Amendment rights were violated because he was not advised of his Miranda rights. (Estelle, at p. 469.)
The court in Estelle further concluded the death penalty was improperly imposed on the defendant because the defendant's pretrial psychiatric interview, which was relied upon at the penalty phase, proceeded in violation of the defendant's Sixth Amendment right to counsel at the pretrial psychiatric interview. (Estelle, supra, 451 U.S. at p. 471.)
The Estelle court reasoned that the interview was at a critical stage of the proceedings. (Id. at p. 470.)