Neither fair nor speedy?: An evaluation of Indiana's competency to stand trial process during Covid-19

Level of Education of Students Involved


Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Holly Cross, PhD


Arts and Sciences



Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Symposium Date

Spring 4-27-2023


The national increase of competency to stand trial (CST) referrals has contributed to delays in legal proceedings, hindrance of due process rights, and class action lawsuits. The state of Indiana previously did not have best practice standards regarding timeliness in completing CST evaluations. The current study used archival data from Odyssey Public Access to investigate Indiana court’s handling of the increasing demand for CST evaluations and the process of referral during the Covid-19 pandemic. The results of this study elucidate that the state of Indiana is not operating according to other states’ best practice standards. However, the current study concluded that the Covid-19 pandemic did not significantly increase the time to complete CST evaluations. This research sheds further light on the future of CST referrals and evaluations during an endemic.

Biographical Information about Author(s)

Abigail Thompson, current junior, is a Psychology major, Criminology minor who is committed to Early-Entry into the Clinical Mental Health Counseling graduate school here at Valpo.

Allison Kom, a current sophomore, is a Psychology major, Sociology minor, who is graduating early and intends to pursue higher education in Industrial-Organizational Psychology.

Abby and Allie are interested in assessing Indiana’s ability to uphold citizens’ rights to a fair and speedy trial. Lawsuits have been raised in the past decade regarding due process rights in the time of a Competency Crisis. Abby and Allie looked at this issue through the lens of the Covid-19 pandemic.

This work was completed in collaboration with the Lab of Applied Forensic Psychology under the supervision of Dr. Holly Cross, Assistant professor of psychology. Lab members, undergraduate students at Valparaiso University, who contributed to this research include Rylee Garzavaltierra, Kayla Smith, Alexandra Herbert, Kamila Wolowiec, and Skylar Easha.

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