Table of Contents

Competency/ Insanity 


No person who lacks the capacity to understand a proceeding against him or her or to assist effectively in his or her own defense as a result of mental disease or defect shall be tried, convicted, or sentenced for the commission of an offense so long as the incapacity endures.  Ark. Code § 5-2-302


It is an affirmative defense to a prosecution that at the time the defendant engaged in the conduct charged he or she lacked capacity as a result of mental disease or defect to: (A) Conform his or her conduct to the requirements of law; or (B) Appreciate the criminality of his or her conduct. When the affirmative defense of mental disease or defect is presented to a jury, prior to deliberations the jury shall be instructed regarding the disposition of a defendant acquitted on a ground of mental disease or defect.  Ark. Code § 5-2-312

Special Rules

Police officers are required to have training on dealing with individuals with disabilities, including: dynamics of relating to a person with disabilities, interview techniques, available supportive services, and pro-arrest guidelines and drawbacks of dual arrest and practices to promote the safety of law enforcement officers.  Ark. Code § 12-9-116

Inmates must get medical evaluation upon intake and physician must limit work assignment as required.  Ark. Code § 12-29-403



Death Penalty 

No defendant with "mental retardation" at the time of committing capital murder shall be sentenced to death. The defendant has the burden of proving "mental retardation" at the time of committing the offense by a preponderance of the evidence. Ark. Code § 5-4-618

A defendant is eligible for the death penalty if the capital murder was committed against a person whom the defendant knew or reasonably should have known was especially vulnerable to the attack because of a temporary or permanent severe physical or mental disability which would interfere with the victim's ability to flee or to defend himself or herself.  Ark. Code § 5-4-618