Despite the fact that many states will allow a death row defendant to waive his legal appeals in order to hasten his execution date, there are inadequate standards and procedures for determining whether the "volunteer" is first competent to make this ultimate decision of life versus death. To provide background for this issue, this Note will discuss the events initially leading up to the nation's first death row "volunteer", then it will introduce subsequent volunteers of the present day. This Note then will look at what the United States Supreme Court has said about the standards and procedures that are necessary in order for a defendant to waive his appeals. This note next will analyze the standards and procedures for competency that are utilized in the states that have allowed a defendant to waive his capital appeals and address the problems and questions that arise in using these standards and procedures. Finally, it will consider the public policy results of allowing a defendant to waive his death penalty appeals, if found competent.
Note, Standards and Procedures for Determining Whether a Defendant is Competent to Make the Ultimate Choice - Death; Ohio's New Precedent for Death Row Volunteers, 13 J.L. & Health 103 (1998-1999)