In Michigan, defendants charged with murder may be ordered to undergo a psychiatric examination. The People will likely have a state sponsored doctor conduct an exam, and likewise, the defense will often request a similar study of the defendant. Sometimes the issue is the defendant's state of mind at the time of the alleged crime, other times the question is the defendant's general ability to tell right from wrong. The court may also inquire as to the defendant's ability to stand trial, whether she understands the charges against her and whether she is competent to stand trial. In People v Pinkney, the defendant was examined for criminal responsibility and competency to stand trial. These examinations may last a number of hours and take place over a period of days or weeks. The findings may spur a battle of the experts, that is if the defense and People's experts disagree as to the defendant's mental state.
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