Freaky Friday Finale: Cannibalism and a Biased Court – The Trial of R v. Dudley and Stephens

Welcome back to Freaky Friday here on Lawyers & Liquor, where we make the legally macabre public knowledge! Generally each Friday has a different theme here, but this month we’re finally, after a six month hiatus, finishing up our review of some principles of maritime murder and the eating of your fellow crew. From just straight up murdering your passengers in U.S. v. Holmes to carving up the cabin boy last time in our first part of Regina v. Dudley and Stephens, the high sea is apparently deadly when everyone decides your life is worth less. Which is why, today, I’ve decided to highlight a less macabre but just as frightening occurrence arising out of the latter case, namely how the trial was essentially rigged to ensure that sailors could never again claim a defense of necessity when they kill and eat their crewmates.

I’m your host, the BOO-zy Barrister, and this is Freaky Friday.

Continue reading “Freaky Friday Finale: Cannibalism and a Biased Court – The Trial of R v. Dudley and Stephens”

The Model Penal Code and Trent’s Teabagging: Insanity as a Defense, Part 4.

Welcome back to Lawyers & Liquor where we’re going to keep the crazy train slamming down the tracks today as we lean into part 4 of our examination of the insanity defense in the courts!

If you missed the first three posts discussing the evolution of the insanity defense through the ages, the M’Naghten rule, the Durham rule, and what the hell an irresistible impulse is, you can find those here,  here, and here respectively. You don’t really need to read them to understand today’s discussion of the fourth insanity as a defense standard, the “substantial capacity” test, but I’d really suggest it because – as you’ll see in a few – they all sort of tie together in how we got here.

So with that said, let’s get what is essentially a criminal law review out of the way so in a year some law student can be like “Wow, this was really unhelpful and confusing! Thanks Boozy!”

But first, let’s get the form disclaimers out of the way.

Continue reading “The Model Penal Code and Trent’s Teabagging: Insanity as a Defense, Part 4.”

“Policeman At The Elbow”: Insanity as a Defense, Part 3.

Welcome back to Lawyers & Liquor where we’re going to keep the crazy train slamming down the tracks today as we lean into part 3 of our examination of the insanity defense in the courts! If you missed the first two posts, where we examined M’Naghten and Durham as standards by which to determine if a defendant has the proper mental state to be guilty of a crime, you can find those here and here respectively. but we’ve got a lot of ground to cover today, so we’re just going to dive in without much of a recap because I don’t see why it’s my responsibility to summarize a bunch of shit for you. Seriously. Go read them. I’m not your momma.

But first, let’s get the form disclaimers out of the way.

Continue reading ““Policeman At The Elbow”: Insanity as a Defense, Part 3.”

Freaky Friday (Again): This Clown Tastes Funny – The Cannibalistic Case of R. vs. Dudley & Stephens, Part 1.

Welcome back to Lawyers & Liquor for another Freaky Friday, where we toss open the crypt doors and invite you, dear reader, to descend into the dungeon of the legally macabre. I’m your ghost host with the barely sufficient most, the BOO-zy Barrister, and in a special two-time Freaky Friday month of April we’re going to continue the theme we talked about last week in discussing a case of high seas passenger murder and expand it out to ask what happens when, instead of drowning passengers, the crew simply decides to dine on a delectable all you can eat buffet of seaman.

Stop giggling.

Seriously.

Stop giggling, because we have a lot of ground to cover as we explore the English eatery that is the case of Regina v. Dudley and Stephens this time on Lawyers & Liquor: Freaky Friday! But first, a general disclaimer.

Continue reading “Freaky Friday (Again): This Clown Tastes Funny – The Cannibalistic Case of R. vs. Dudley & Stephens, Part 1.”

Durham and the Little Man of Reason: Insanity as a Defense, Part 2

Welcome back to Lawyers & Liquor and oh my god has this series become somewhat in bad taste since I started writing it last week. Over the recent weekend there were two mass shootings in the United States, killing in excess of thirty people and wounding many others, and the national conversation has gone to the most reasonable place ever since then: mental health care. Because, of course, no matter what happens it can’t be the availability of firearms that can empty out thirty shots in less time than it takes to read this post, reload, and empty out thirty more. No, the real problem is that all of the people who engage in mass shootings are obviously mentally unsound…which is a no shit statement because generally mentally sound people don’t consider “shooting a bunch of people in a retail store is the perfect way to express myself” to be a reasonable conclusion to reach.

However, as we talked about last time, merely being mentally unsound isn’t enough to properly defend the actions of an accused party in court. And nothing we’re going to talk about today is going to change that shit, because while M’Naghten, in some form, is still the majority rule throughout the United States, even under the tests used by the minority of states to make a determination of whether insanity relieves a party of criminal liability the standard still wouldn’t be met simply be means of mental defect. That’s right, today we’re going to examine the three other tests used to determine whether or not a defendant’s insistence that they shouldn’t be punished because of their mental state is,unlike their alleged mentality, sound.

But first, a disclaimer.

Continue reading “Durham and the Little Man of Reason: Insanity as a Defense, Part 2”