Judge Set to Rule Whether Stanford Fit To Stand Trial

R. Allen Stanford will appear in federal court in Houston this morning. U.S. District Judge David Hittner will rule on whether Stanford is competent to stand trial over an alleged $7 billion Ponzi scheme.

Stanford’s attorneys are insisting the financier is unable to assist in his own defense, saying a brain injury he suffered in a jail fight left him with amnesia. Stanford spent the past nine months in a North Carolina federal prison hospital, undergoing treatment for an anti-anxiety drug addiction he developed while jailed in Houston. Federal prosecutors claim Stanford is faking amnesia, citing the report of a prison doctor.  

Geoffrey Corn teaches criminal procedure at the South Texas College of Law in Houston. Korn says that, regardless of the results of today’s hearing, the odds are that Stanford will ultimately be tried for allegedly defrauding investors out of more than seven billion dollars.

“Usually competence is a short speed bump on the way to trial. It’s not the same thing as insanity. They’re very different standards. What we’re assessing here is whether he’s capable of being put on trial. Insanity has to do with whether he was mentally capable of understanding his criminal conduct at the time of the offenses, and there’s no indication whatsoever that there’ll be an issue of insanity in this case once he is made competent.”

If Stanford is ruled incompetent, he could be remanded to psychiatric care for additional treatment. If he is found fit to stand trial, jury selection will begin January 23.


Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media’s coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas delegations in the U.S. House and Senate, as well as the Texas governorship, the state legislature, and county and city governments. Before taking up his current post, Andrew...

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