Defendant Must Be Mentally Competent To Waive Counsel Right

1993

In Godinez v. Moran, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that a criminal defendant can waive the Sixth Amendment right to assistance of counsel and plead guilty if he has already met the same standard used to decide whether a defendant is mentally competent to stand trial: Whether he has “sufficient present ability to consult with his lawyer with a reasonable degree of rational understanding” and a “rational as well as factual understanding of the proceedings” against him.