So we know now why testimony in the Casey Anthony trial was cut short on Saturday — there was a motion filed by the defense to determine Casey’s competency to proceed with her trial. Usually such motions are made before a trial, so getting one in the middle of a trial is very strange. Anthony reportedly was examined by three experts over the weekend, and based on the experts’ findings, the judge found that Casey is in fact competent to proceed. I’ve done plenty of competency examinations, and it’s really not hard to be competent to stand trial. In fact, it’s hard not to be competent to stand trial. Basically, the defendant just has to be able to understand the charges (i.e. appreciate why he/she is on trial), understand the purpose of the proceedings and the roles of the various participants therein (i.e. appreciate what is going on around him/her), understand what could happen if there’s a plea or verdict of guilty (i.e. appreciate what is at stake), and be able to assist in his/her own defense (i.e. be capable of communicating with defense counsel in a meaningful way). As you can see, a defendant has to be profoundly deficient in order to be incompetent. So, why did we get this strange request from the defense for a competency evaluation at this late date? We don’t know yet, and we may never know, but my guess would be that Casey wants to do something that goes directly against the advice of her counsel, like perhaps…testify. Stay tuned!