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Lawyer: Mental exam would violate girl's rights

  • Associated Press
  • July 4, 2014 - 4:55 PM

WAUKESHA, Wis. — A 12-year-old girl accused of stabbing of a classmate to please a fiction character should not have to submit to a psychological exam because doing so would violate her right to remain silent, her defense attorney says.

Waukesha County Circuit Judge Michael Bohren granted prosecutors' request for the mental test during a hearing Wednesday, over the objection of defense attorney Anthony Cotton. Cotton filed a motion Thursday asking the judge to reconsider, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported (http://bit.ly/TI7x7l). Cotton argued that an exam would involve asking the girl about the incident, which would violate her right to remain silent because the answers would presumably be made available to the state.

He also noted that two doctors — one for the defense and one appointed by the state — agreed the girl was not mentally competent to assist in her own defense.

"Until the issue of competency is addressed, (the girl) lacks the ability to understand the nature of the proceedings, therefore her rights, or the importance of being candid about potential mental illness," the motion reads.

Prosecutors say she and another girl plotted for months to kill their 12-year-old friend to curry favor with the popular online specter known as Slender Man. They lured her to a park west of Milwaukee on May 31 and stabbed her 19 times, authorities said.

Doctors told police the knife narrowly missed a major artery near the victim's heart. The child has since been released from a hospital.

Cotton said he knew of no case in which an incompetent defendant was required to submit to a psychological exam to determine mental disease or defect. Nor could he find a case in which one was ordered before a preliminary hearing, he wrote.

The exam would focus not on the girl's current condition but on her mental state during the May 31 crime. Prosecutors said there's reason to believe an insanity plea might happen, so it would make sense to conduct the test as close to the crime date as possible.

The next step is an Aug. 1 hearing, where prosecutors can question the doctors who concluded the girl wasn't mentally competent for court proceedings.

The girl and her 12-year-old co-defendant are charged in adult court with being party to attempted first-degree intentional homicide. The Associated Press is not naming them while there is a chance their cases will be sent to juvenile court

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