The New York Criminal Procedure Law, which came into force on September 1, 1971, introduced two concepts which it proceeded to define successively: the "incapacitated person" and the "dangerous incapacitated person." The medico-legal problems, of which some aspects are to be considered here, reside in the identification of those persons and the application to them of the procedural steps, which the legislation prescribes in their case. It is proposed here to examine some of the problems facing the lawyer and the psychiatric examiner in relation to the "incapacitated person" as defined by the Criminal Procedure Law. It is necessary to state at the outset, that it is not proposed to deal with the extremely complex and near-inexhaustible subject of "dangerousness." It must, however, be adverted that the pressing problem of the medico-legal standard of dangerousness, the legislative association of the adjective "dangerous" with the term "incapacitated person" so as to mean something quite different, and the legislative proximity of these quite distinct topics are what tend to divert attention from some of the more interesting problems inherent in the basic, statutory definition. The intention here is to focus attention upon these problems, to explain what they seem to be, and to show their relation to the practical application of these standards.
H. H. A. Cooper,
Fitness to Proceed: A Brief Look at Some Aspects of the Medico-Legal Problem under the New York Criminal Procedure Law,
52 Neb. L. Rev. 44
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