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What it means to be 'incompetent to stand trial'

One judge ruled Majed Ijong, who's charged with five counts of criminal sexual conduct with a child, is incompetent to stand trial.

Posted: Mar. 7, 2018 6:07 PM
Updated: Mar. 8, 2018 6:36 AM

ROCHESTER, Minn. – It’s one of our rights as Americans to have a fair and speedy trial when charged with a crime. However, recently one judge ruled 24-year-old Majed Ijong incompetent to stand trial.

Ijong is charged with five counts of criminal sexual conduct with a child under the age of 13.

Majed Ijong

Steve Rolsch, a local attorney, explains Rule 20 of the Criminal Procedure in Minnesota. He said being competent means that “he could understand the nature of the proceedings, and be helpful to his or her attorney.”

For that ruling, Rolsch explains Ijong had to go to a doctor for them to determine his competency. Online court records said he had a hearing Tuesday, which resulted in a judge ruling him incompetent.

“It wouldn't be fundamentally fair to make this person go to trial because he can't help in his defense,” Rolsch said, “and he doesn't even understand the nature of the proceedings.”

Rolsch said it’s different than an insanity plea, because Ijong isn’t even going to trial to make that plea.

“If you plead insanity, then you have to put forward it's your burden as a defendant to put forward that you're mentally ill and you're so mentally ill that you do not know the nature of the actions that caused the crime,” Rolsch said. “You didn't know what you were doing at the time of the crime, due to your mental illness.”

Rolsch said Ijong will be committed until he’s ruled competent.

“They'll check back in six months. Is he competent yet? Because he's still under commitment, you go at six months at a time usually,” Rolsch said.

Ijong was a wanted man in Rochester before he was taken into custody in California. Rolsch said that’s something lawyers can use in their arguments when they go back to review Ijong’s competency, because it indicates he knew he committed a crime.

Ijong is still listed as being held in the Olmsted County Adult Detention Center. No future court dates have been scheduled.

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