Banita Jacks Deemed Fit to Stand Trial

Banita Jacks Deemed Fit To Stand Trial was originally published on City Desk on Jan. 23, 2009, at 3:11 pm

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try try and try again. Today in D.C. Superior Court, Banita Jacks was deemed mentally fit to stand trial. D.C. Superior Court Judge Frederick H. Weisberg had previously ordered Jacks to be mentally evaluated three times. In each of those three times, Jacks refused to cooperate. This past Fall, the judge ordered Jacks’ transfer to St. Elizabeths. She was then diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder and prescribed Haldol.

Now, the Washington Post, reporting from today’s hearing before Judge Weisburg notes:

“But in the hospital’s most recent report filed yesterday, hospital staff said Jacks had made progress and was no longer taking medication. They also asked the court to keep Jacks at the hospital until her trial to ‘assure her competency.’”

Does this make any sense? She’s competent to stand trial as long as she remains at St. Elizabeths. Jacks was arrested last January after marshals found the bodies of her four daughters in her home. The news of the murders rocked Child and Family Services and became national news. Jacks has since refused the assistance of two defense attorneys. It is unclear whether Jacks still wants to represent herself at trial. It is also unclear how Jacks is suddenly off meds and competent.

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