A person diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia is accused of murdering his in-laws. He insists on defending himself without counsel and wears a TV-Western cowboy costume while on trial for his life. He attempts to subpoena the Pope, John F. Kennedy and Jesus Christ. He rambles incomprehensibly, scares the jurors by pointing an imaginary rifle at them, and he believes the judge is a devil worshiper.

This isn’t an episode of “Law and Order.” It actually happened, and with this case, the U.S. Supreme Court has the opportunity to clarify the standard for protecting incompetent prisoners from execution.

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