The defendant, who had consistently declared his readiness to stand trial despite his lawyers’ efforts to have him declared mentally incompetent, smile broadly when the judge, John Starkey, announced his ruling.
“Your honor, remember what I said,” he called out in the makeshift courtroom, “Lock the door and throw away the key. I mean it.”
The question is: can he perceive, recall, relate? Yes. Does he have rudimentary understanding of the trial process? Yes. Can he establish a working relationship with his attorney? Yes. Is he sufficiently intelligent to listen and evaluate? Yes. Is he able to stand trial? Yes.
Excerpt from Max Seigel Oct 22, 1977 New York Times