Judge says Duncan needs mental evaluation - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Judge says Duncan needs mental evaluation

BOISE, Idaho - In light of convicted child killer Joseph Duncan's request to represent himself in court, a federal judge ordered Friday that Duncan undergo a mental evaluation.

Duncan says he needs to be his own attorney because his current legal team can't ethically represent his ideology. The judge says he can't make a decision without being certain Duncan is competent to waive his right to professional legal counsel.

KHQ&A Discussion

Do you think Joseph Duncan should be allowed to represent himself in court?

Should Joseph Duncan get the death penalty?

Lodge has ordered attorneys on both sides to produce three names of psychiatrists or psychologists in the Boise region who can evaluate Duncan.

Defense lawyer Mark Larranaga made the request on Duncan's behalf Wednesday morning, just before the jury selection process was scheduled to resume.

But U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge said he would consider the request on Friday, to avoid inconveniencing the dozens of potential jurors scheduled to be individually questioned by attorneys this week.

The attorneys are sifting through more than 300 potential jurors, trying to find 12 who can fairly decide if Duncan should be sentenced to death for the kidnapping, sexual abuse and death of Dylan Groene in 2005.

Duncan pleaded guilty in December to 10 federal crimes stemming from the 2005 kidnapping of two north Idaho children, and the murder of one of them at a remote campsite in western Montana.

Three of those charges qualify him for the death penalty.

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  • KHQ&A: Should Duncan represent himself?

    BOISE, Idaho - On April 16th Joseph Edward Duncan III asked a federal judge to allow him to act as his own attorney during his death sentencing hearing. Do you think he should be allowed represent himself? Let us know why or why not.

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