"Guilty but mentally ill" vs. "Not guilty by reason of insanity"

A nut case went on a murderous rampage in Albuquerque last weekend. Five dead, including two police officers. I knew two of the victims.

There is know doubt the perpitrator is not right in the head…history of mental problems. Off his meds. The officers were arriving to take him to mental hospital, unaware that he’d already killed three people that day.

I’m not looking for leagle advice or opinions, just clarification. A judge told me he will probably be found “Guilty But Mentally Ill” which is a verdict available in New Mexico, which somehow differs from “Not guilty by reason of insanity”. This judge had contact with the two victims I knew, as well as the two officers, and it soon became apparent that the topic was making him extreamly upset, so I dropped it.

I know there are some leagle beagle dopers, and I’d like two know what the distinctions are, and how this might play out for the deeply disturbed individual.

Typing on autopilot. “last weekend” should have been “last week”

Not guilty by reason of insanity means that the defendant wasn’t capable of recognizing that what he was doing was a crime and/or wasn’t capable of controlling his behavior. (It also usually means a one-way ticket to a mental institution at least until he’s judged to be legally sane (e.g., John Hinckley).

Guilty but mentally ill means that mental illness is considered a mitigating factor in sentencing, but that the defendant is still legally responsible for his actions (i.e., he goes to jail.)

Just as we should not be subjected to forced treatment or involuntary incarceration unless we’re actually proven to be incapable of making our own decisions, we should be held liable for the things we do when we’re not incarcerated or drugged up, on the same terms as anyone not diagnosed with a mental illness.

Schizophrenia (or some other diagnosis) may be an explanation but as long as the schizzy is legally competent it’s not an excuse. Guilty.

IIRC, “guilty but mentally ill” means a long stay with the men in the white coats. However, if the men in the white coats someday decide this person is no longer a danger to himself or others and decide to release him, he goes to jail for his crimes.

Thanks for the factual responses. What “should” happen to the individual is probably better left to a GD thread, which this isn’t.

Point taken.