San Diego Law Review

Library of Congress Authority File


Document Type



The Supreme Court's mid-1980s decision in Ake v. Oklahoma established the defendant's constitutional right to "competent psychiatric assistance." Although many states had already provided indigent defendants access to psychiatric assistance in their defense, it was not until the Court decided Ake that this access was established as his or her constitutional right. However, whether this due process right to expert assistance was satisfied by the mere appointment of a psychiatrist or whether it included the requirement that the expert perform competently had remained unanswered as of 1992. This Comment attempts to address this issue in the affirmative and additionally develops a standard upon which the issue can be reviewed by the courts.