Stanford Competency Hearing Set For Tuesday

Mug shot of Allen Stanford. Image from United States Marshals Service
Robert Allen Stanford will appear in federal court in Houston this morning. U.S. District Judge David Hittner will rule on whether Stanford is competent to stand trial over an alleged $7 billion Ponzi scheme.

Stanford’s attorneys are insisting the financier is unable to assist in his own defense, saying a brain injury he suffered in a jail fight left him with amnesia. Stanford spent the past nine months in a North Carolina federal prison hospital, undergoing treatment for an anti-anxiety drug addiction he developed while jailed in Houston. Federal prosecutors claim Stanford is faking amnesia, citing the report of a prison doctor.  

Sandra Guerra Thompson is director of the Criminal Justice Institute at the University of Houston Law Center.

“The defendant in a criminal case has a right to assist in his own defense. You know, normally, defense lawyers have to work very closely with their clients to figure out what the defense will be, what happened, you know, what’s the evidence that’s available. And if the client is unable to remember anything or for whatever reason not competent to help the defense, then under the law, they really can’t be tried.”

If Stanford is found incompetent, he could be remanded to psychiatric care for further evaluation. If he is found fit to stand trial, jury selection will begin January 23.

Bio photo of Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Business Reporter

Andrew Schneider joined KUHF in January 2011, after more than a decade as a print reporter for The Kiplinger Letter...