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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2003

    "Guilty Except Insane"

    On April 19, 2006, the U.S. Supreme Court will consider Clark v. Arizona," which considers whether defendants have a constitutional right to claim insanity as a defense. I don't have time to retype this article which appears in April's "American Bar Journal," but look for the issue to be in the news soon. Basically Clark is asking the justices to "relax restrictions the state places on the insanity defense" and accept a "guilty except insane" verdict.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Instead of the Not Guilty by reason of Insanity? For a lawyer, it's a semantic difference, but I think it'd help public acceptance a ton.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Nor Cal
    I like it! I think that the idea that a person WAS insane and killed somebody, but they are not guilty and should be treated and released when they are "cured" is bizarre. So I like "guilty and insane". It would work for people like Dahmer. He was clearly insane AND clearly guilty. He could have mental health treatment AND be imprisoned for the rest of his life.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    "Criminally Insane" = you are either for life in a mental institution being treated or you get a transfer to prison, but under NO circumstances should this type of criminal be back on the streets to re-victimize. Voices or no voices. These types get out on the street stop taking their med's, because life is too boring due to the effect of the med's for their liking, get nuts again & innocent people are the sacrifice.

    Hope that's what they have in mind.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    I absolutely agree that Guilty but Insane or Guilty and Insane is much better than Not Guilty by reason of insanity. Even if it's the same thing, the wording does matter.

    Thanks, Jeana for the heads up - I went and read the original decision and some commentary. Clark v. Arizona will be very interesting - when something goes to the Supreme Court, usually you want "good" facts. This case has BAD facts - the guy shot a police officer during a routine traffic stop, then ran away. No court likes to overturn a case when a cop is shot. Both sides agreed that the shooter was schizophrenic, also unusual for the prosecution to have conceded that. Finally, the case was appealed directly from an AZ appellate ct, and not AZ supreme ct - which likely means that the US Supreme Ct really, really thinks this is important. But I think the issue might be narrowly decided - that it will come back with a statement on the amount of evidence a court must consider in looking at insanity, or what evidence the defendant can put in. I don't think it will be a blanket change to the insanity plea in the country.

    Some good articles...



    Why is the Court taking the case?