United States Supreme Court
477 U.S. 399 (1986)
Alvin Ford (defendant) was convicted of murder and sentenced to death. While in prison, Ford’s behavior began to change, and he started experiencing numerous suicidal delusions related to the Ku Klux Klan. Ford also believed that a large group of his friends and family was being held hostage inside the prison. After examination, a psychiatrist concluded that Ford suffered from severe paranoid schizophrenia. Shortly afterward, a second doctor met with Ford and concluded that Ford did not understand why he was being executed or recognize the relationship between his death sentence and the homicide of which he had been convicted. Following the procedures set forth under Florida law for determination of competency of a condemned inmate in Fla. Stat. § 922.07 (1985), the governor of Florida empanelled three psychiatrists to evaluate whether Ford had the mental capacity to understand the nature of the death penalty and the reasons why it was imposed on him. After interviewing Ford at a single meeting, all three psychiatrists produced different diagnoses, but all agreed that Ford understood the nature and effects of the death penalty. Pursuant to the statute, the governor made the final decision, based upon the psychiatrists’ conclusions, and signed a death warrant for Ford’s execution. Ford’s attorneys subsequently brought an action in federal court seeking a writ of habeas corpus.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Marshall, J.)
Concurrence (Powell, J.)
Concurrence/Dissent (O’Connor, J.)
Dissent (Durham, J.)
Dissent (Stewart, J.)
Dissent (Rehnquist, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.
Here's why 222,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,100 briefs, keyed to 189 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.