This is a few days old, but on 8 January 2013, the Supreme Court held in Ryan v. Valencia Gonzales that a federal habeas petitioner is not entitled to stay of his petition when he is found incompetent and unable to communicate with his counsel. Both the Ninth and Sixth Circuits had found statutory rights (based on different statutory sections) to be competent and to be able to assist their counsel on their appeals, even where the appeals were entirely record-based. The Supreme Court disagreed, noting that the right to be competent during trial flows from Due Process under the Fifth Amendment and not the right to counsel under the Sixth Amendment. Therefore, the right to federally funded counsel in capital cases for federal habeas petitioners does not imply a right to competence and the Supreme Court did not find such a right in the habeas statutes.

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