Read the following case study:
On the night of July 23, 2014, the victim Joe is engaged in a high stakes poker game at his friend Haywood’s apartment. At approximately 1:30am, a masked individual enters the apartment. He has a gun and demands their money. Joe charges the assailant and attempts to take the gun away. During the struggle, the assailant shoots Joe in the head. Joe dies before the ambulance arrives. The assailant flees.
When the police arrive, Haywood is asked if he recognized the suspect. Haywood says he cannot be sure, because of the mask, but the assailant looked a lot like his second cousin who had recently moved to the area. His name is Hunter and he is 15 years old.
The police take Hunter into custody and begin to question him about the incident. Without the assistance of his lawyer or his parents, he confesses to the murder. The police seized the suspects phone. On the phone they find multiple photos of Hunter posing with handguns, using controlled substances, and drinking alcohol. The police learn that Hunter has previously been convicted three times of minor in possession of a handgun. These convictions were in juvenile court.
Hunter is appointed a lawyer. The lawyer learns that Hunter had recently moved to the area to live with his father because he had been kicked out of school in his hometown. He has a history of behavioral problems. He has been hospitalized twice in psychiatric facilities. At age 12, he witnesses the murder of his 16-year-old sister in a drive-by shooting. His mother has been in and out of prison since he was a child. He also attempted suicide at age 14, after his first juvenile arrest. Hunter has suffered repeated physical abuse from his mother and her long-term boyfriend. Hunter was placed in foster-care for over a year when he was 4 years old.
His father advises that Hunter was being treated for ADHD, depression, and PTSD by a local psychiatrist. However, Hunter will not take his medicine. At Hunter’s former school, he was enrolled in special education courses. He is currently in the 8th grade.
Hunter is charged with murder as an adult. Is Hunter competent to stand trial? Why or why not? Could Hunter employ the insanity defense with any success? Why or why not? What are the arguments for transferring Hunter’s case to juvenile court? What about a blended sentence?