But I don’t have a constitutional right to plead insanity as a defense in a criminal trial. That ain’t right, Jethro!
I found this interesting story about a case headed for the Supreme Court. In the wake of the John Hinkley trial, 5 states eliminated insanity as a criminal defense. In one, the state supreme court overruled the legislature and re-instituted the the defense, but 4 states remain where it is not. They are Idaho, Kansas, Montana and Utah.
And in Idaho this guy kills two people because they are “stealing his energy”. Here is a key quote from the article:
Idaho does apparently offer a substitute to the insanity plea – “allowing evidence of mental illness to negate a finding that the defendant was aware that that his conduct was criminal”, according to the story. Interesting that on the surface at least, the judge found just that, if you accept “wrongfulness of his conduct” to be the same as “criminal conduct”.
Anyway, the US Supremes have not had to rule directly on this matter since the flurry of changes to state laws, and now apparently they will. Or maybe not – who knows what kind of rationale they might come up with to avoid the issue.
Please, enjoy the rest of your Mundane and Pointless threads of the day.