Ruled incompetent then ruled competent?

It seems odd that an incompetent person could later be ruled competent. Isn’t it more important to understand the competency of the person in the days leading up to the crime? I just don’t understand.

This question concerns Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong, the alleged master mind behind the pizza delivery collar bomb bank robbery event.

It’s about her competency to stand trial, to understand the proceedings going on. I’m assuming the competency at the time of the crime will be a feature of the trial arguments. This woman could well have been competent at the time, incompetent in the interim, and then well enough again later on to be able to proceed.

It’s worth noting that in this case, the crime occurred in 2003, and she was ruled incompetent last year then competent this year. A lot could have (and apparently did) happen regarding her mental health in that time period.

You’re mixing up the concepts of incompetency and insanity. As Ferret Herder correctly states, competency applies at the time of trial - it’s a due process requirement that the defendant understand the nature of the proceedings against them, and be able to communicate with and assist their attorney in their defense. Insanity concerns the defendant’s mental state at the time of the alleged offense.

A mentally ill person could be stabilized on medication and become “competent” to stand trial. Anyone who has ever had experience with a psychotic can tell you that within days they can go from out of touch with reality to perfectly reasonable.

One of the women who taught me to play bridge in a mental hospital in the mid 1960s had been distraught enough two or three days earlier after she was brought in, that she was throwing human waste at the guards who tried to enter her room. I did not see this take place, but I did hear her when she came in.

That one incident more than anything else convinced me how delicate the chemical systems in our brains are. It doesn’t seem to take much to change everything.