Psychologist Breaks Down What Incompetent Ruling Means
The judge's decision that Jimmy Snuka is not competent to stand trial comes after expert testimony, mental health evaluations, testimony from Snuka himself as well as from his wife. Prosecutors wanted the judge to see things differently. 69 News sat down with Dr. Robert Gordon, an expert in forensic psychology, who says the issue of competency boils down to a simple principle. "Competency is understanding the procedures factually and rationally," Dr. Gordon said. Dr. Gordon also says, without expertise, it is difficult to detect whether the person in question is lying to avoid the charges, or is actually not competent to stand trial. He also says those who fake it, otherwise known as malingerers, are typically detectable to a seasoned professional. "Malingerers overdo it, they ascribe to too many symptoms that the real person wouldn't, or incongruent symptoms that don't go a long with the actual diagnosis," Dr. Gordon said. While it is over for now, there are still more hurdles for Snuka's attorneys to overcome. There's another hearing to evaluate any changes in Snuka's competency six months from now. Dr. Gordon says the outcome of that could depend on the reason Snuka has been deemed incompetent to stand trial. "[If the testing shows a psychosis], with the right medication and treatment, he could be rehabilitated and competent to stand trial," Dr. Gordon said. "If the neuro site testing shows brain damage, you can't restore those lost neurons and then he can't be rehabilitated and competent to stand trial." According to Snuka's attorney, after a year and a half the judge would have to dismiss the charges if there is no change in Snuka's competency.