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Supreme Court rules on Fifth Amendment issue

The US Supreme Court [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Wednesday in Kansas v. Cheever [SCOTUSblog backgrounder] that the Fifth Amendment [text] does not prohibit the government from introducing evidence from a court-ordered mental evaluation of a criminal defendant to rebut that defendant's presentation of expert testimony in support of a defense of voluntary intoxication. Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote for a unanimous court: "We hold that where a defense expert who has examined the defendant testifies that the defendant lacked the requisite mental state to commit a crime, the prosecution may offer evidence from a court-ordered psychological examination for the limited purpose of rebutting the defendant's evidence."

The decision vacates the judgment [opinion] of the Kansas Supreme Court. The court heard oral arguments in October after granting certiorari [JURIST reports] in February. JURIST Guest Columnists Jeffrey Green and Jeffrey Beelaert discussed the case [JURIST op-ed] last month.

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