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”