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  1. #1
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    Insanity Defense

    http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/271313

    good background info on the insanity defense in the past and how it could possibly relate to this case.

  2. #2
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    IMO, she cannot plead insanity as she showed that she knew the wrongfulness of her deed, since she put the body in a suitcase and dumped it.

    Also, if she is alleging an "accident" in the death, and if, she did indeed do the rape by foreign object to cover her crime, she shows knowledge of that crime's wrongfulness.

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    I completely agree snap! I started this thread just in case her atty thinks he can get her off with this approach.. The media seems to already be pregaming the trial.....

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    She is very sick, but not insane..........MH knew right from wrong at the time and premeditated this crime! and all her other crimes!
    Kyron, HALEIGH, ADJI & Gabriel NEEDS PRAYERS NOW TO FIND THEM!. Zahra & Jonathan in heaven
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  5. #5
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    There is no way that an insanity plea can be used here. Melissa doesn't have a history of mental illness. She hasn't been on meds or been in and out of mental hospitals. There is no documentation by doctors of Melissa having any mental illlness. Look at Andrea Yates and how hard her attorneys fought for an insanity plea and it took two trials for the insanity plea to work and she truly was insane. She had a documented history of mental illness. Insanity pleas are few and far between in this day and age. A person can't just decide to plead insanity. There has to be a lot of proof that the person was legally insane and Melissa doesn't fit this at all.

  6. #6
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    She's not insane.
    Period.
    Her atrocious acts prove that, as well as the tears she's shed for herself since arrested...
    "Lost is not alone..." T. Miller, Founder TES (and MY HERO!!!)

    "I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do. What I can do, I should do. And what I should do, by the grace of God, I will." -

    Edward Everett Hale

  7. #7
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    One would have to be insane to do these things, especially a mother. I can't think of one sane person who could. If she is guilty of these crimes she would have to be insane is my stand.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by QNA View Post
    One would have to be insane to do these things, especially a mother. I can't think of one sane person who could. If she is guilty of these crimes she would have to be insane is my stand.

    Couldn't you say that about all murderers? What about sex offenders? There is a legal definition of insane, I don't think she qualifies. IMO

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    Quote Originally Posted by QNA View Post
    One would have to be insane to do these things, especially a mother. I can't think of one sane person who could. If she is guilty of these crimes she would have to be insane is my stand.
    I think some may want to think that but however, I don't believe it for one second. All one has to do is read about cases that involves "mothers" to realize they can be just as cold, calculating and sexually abusive as a "father".

    I think our society has been brainwashed into thinking that mothers have some protective aura around them that protects them from being evil. Imo that imaginary shield does not exist. We have seen and read about what some of them are capable of and there is no insanity there but there is a whole lot of evil just like we see in some fathers.

    When mothers sell their own infants or children to a pedophile and even hold them down as they scream while they are repeatedly raped or when they torture/neglect/abuse and murder their own it is not a leap at all to believe that being a mother doesn't prevent them from doing heinous acts.

    Imo, Huckaby is a predator. She preys on the young and vulnerable. She fits the profile of a sexual predator imo. She used her gender as a way to get close to kids. She used her faux appearance of being gentle, caring and doting. Just like a male predator does when he ingratiates himself among trusting children. She selected her target and Sandra paid for it with her life.

    She may have issues but imo there is nothing showing that she was legally insane when she did these acts.

    Maybe her target at first was the 7 year old but when the mother got the police involved she backed off and honed in on Sandra as her next target.

    imo
    "Pardon Our Noise, It's the Sound of Freedom" USMC New River Air Station, Jacksonville, North Carolina

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    MH can plead insanity, doesn't mean she can prove it and that is the test. I am a little conflicted about such a plea. If she takes this approach, it is admitting she is guilty as charged. That's a good thing. Then she has to prove that while she is guilty, she did not know what she was doing was wrong at the time that she did it. I don't think she can prove this. So insanity defense won't work and she is flat out charged for committing the murder.

    Proving insanity is a tricky business. Yates should have never gotten away with it! AND she only got away with it because she is a woman (moo). MH will have a difficult time because she deliberately hid herself and Sandra during the commisison of the crime - therefore clearly showing she knew what she was doing was WRONG at the TIME that she did it. As for not being able to stop herself, I'm not sure what the criteria for proving or disproving this would be. Anyone else have any ideas?

    Salem


  11. #11
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    Personally, my definition of insanity is, The Tactic "excuse" that Defense Attorney's us to get their clients off of Death row or Life in prison.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by QNA View Post
    One would have to be insane to do these things, especially a mother. I can't think of one sane person who could. If she is guilty of these crimes she would have to be insane is my stand.
    "Insane" is a word we use a lot today. ("I have an INSANE amount of work to do." "You paid $300.000 for those shoes? Okay. That's insane.")

    But insanity as a defence would mean the accused was so far out of touch with reality that they didn't understand what they did was wrong.

    Like hallucinating so badly you don't know that what you did killed someone. Or thinking that God has told you to kill them.

    I could be wrong, but what I'm hearing you actually say is that what MH has done is so abnormal that no decent person can find some way to relate. No remotely decent person could do this. And you're right. Sandra's murderer is a psychopath or sociopath, but these people aren't insane. They know what they do is wrong and they are incapable of caring about that. They don't feel normal emotions. They're evil. If they aren't stopped they spread that evil, or at the very least they spread searing pain and destroy innocent lives.

    I'm convinced Sandra's murderer is sane in a legal sense. I'm convinced she is a premeditated killer who was sane enough to know good from evil so she hid Sandra in a suitcase, pretended to her grandmother to have left it in the driveway (alibi) and threw the suitcase in a pond. (I'm beginning to dislike granting her the respect of referring to her by name or even by initials.)

  13. #13
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    That was a good article. Great topic too, I really wasn't as aware of the particular ins and outs of the defense, or that different states apply it in different ways.

    2/3 of the states adopted the convention that the burden of proof on insanity rests with the defense. Twelve states adopted statutes that defined the rule guilty but mentally ill, known as GMI. In the event this type of verdict is rendered in a case the consequence is conviction and a criminal sentence.
    I'm wondering what the operating definition of "mentally ill" is in this context even though those found guilty are not sent to a mental health facility. I only wonder because I would think that there are many criminals suffering from conditions that are not, as a general rule, associated with criminal behavior. In such cases I wonder how this affects the public's perception of the majority of individuals who are not criminals, yet suffer from the same illnesses. I also wonder why this application is necessary in criminal cases as these illnesses do not affect the criminals ability to know right from wrong. Such applications could therefore imply that the afflicted criminal is somehow less responsible for the choice they made to commit the crime. I don't see the mental illnesses that I am aware of, especially the "garden variety" types as being mitigating factors in sentencing.

    Salem your comments really got me thinking as well: "MH can plead insanity, doesn't mean she can prove it and that is the test. I am a little conflicted about such a plea. If she takes this approach, it is admitting she is guilty as charged. That's a good thing. Then she has to prove that while she is guilty, she did not know what she was doing was wrong at the time that she did it. I don't think she can prove this. So insanity defense won't work and she is flat out charged for committing the murder." Its almost like the insanity plea is an unintentional ploy to get those who do not want to take full responsibility for their actions to plead guilty. Since it is so difficult to prove the insanity plea, it would seem that the perpetrator is stuck behind bars with their foot in their mouth. I don't know if that is good enough for me. I want these perpetrators to stand before a court of law and be judged or addmitt to being fully responsible for the crimes they have been charged with. Unfortunately plea deals prevent full responsibility from being taken, so I guess I will have to settle for diminished capacity pleas as well if it means that the guilty are punished.

    Of the mental illnesses that I am aware of, it is the socio and psychopath who are truly incapable of an internalized and integrated sense of right and wrong. But this understanding could be the result of the increased media coverage of the crimes these individuals commit. These men and women do have an intellectual understanding of right and wrong which unfortunately could be what is enabling them to appear normal. I'm thinking that it is illnesses such as schizophenia that render the criminal incapable to connect with reality to varying degrees.

    It has been tossed around as a possibility that MH was a victim of the same abuse she is alleged to have committed. In cases where there is extreme abuse in the criminal's background I wonder if the abusive behavior is somewhat seen as "normal" in the small percentage of those victims that become victimizers. I don't know if that kind of thought process is characteristic of a particular mental illness, but unless the secretive nature of the crimes are purely a repetition of the abuse they received as a child it demonstrates the perpetrator knows that what they are doing is wrong.

    Salem, I liked the other comment you made in that same post: "Proving insanity is a tricky business. Yates should have never gotten away with it! AND she only got away with it because she is a woman (moo). MH will have a difficult time because she deliberately hid herself and Sandra during the commisison of the crime - therefore clearly showing she knew what she was doing was WRONG at the TIME that she did it. As for not being able to stop herself, I'm not sure what the criteria for proving or disproving this would be. Anyone else have any ideas?"

    I don't think that Yates should have gotten off with an insanity plea. I don't know as much as I should about that case, but I think she was able to do so for at least two reasons: 1. Calling the police to report herself and presenting with such an unusual affect in general following her crime, and 2. I think that because her husband prevented her from receiving mental health services she was viewed sympathetically by the jurors as being an abused spouse, not entirely responsible for her actions as they were controlled by her husband. When it comes to the whole "not being able to stop herself", I don't know if there is a certain criteria for that other than the defense attorney's ability to convince a jury that it was so. I think it is the same with proving that a criminal was in such a state of mind that they did not know their actions were "wrong at the time". Logically speaking is it truly possible to determine the mental state of anyone moment to moment? I just don't think that there are scientific ways to prove this and is therefore left to the defense attorney's "razzel dazzel" the jury.

    Thinking about Yates, made me think about MH's access to treatment. It has been implied that MH has been under the care of a mental health doctor at some point. For the sake of argument lets assume that the doctor treated MH with psychiatric medications. If MH took those medications to treat her mental disorder(s), the decision to stop taking those medications was made with a sound mind to become unsound. How can a criminal use the insanity plea/guilty but mentally ill defense when they made the decision to stop taking their medications and/or participating in therapy to treat their mental illness? I guess this would be where the prosecution shows off their own little tap dance, I don't know. I would also like to add that I doubt that any mental illness MH had was the cause of these crimes, I'm still among those that do not believe MH is a sociopath. I do wonder if she would have taken responsibility for her treatment would MH would have had more impulse control, insight into her thoughts etc. to combat her urges to commit this horrific crime.

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    Daisy... great, well-thought out post!

    You know, many of us are coming from a rational, normal-person sense of thinking about these things. I agree with much of what you say. However, the LEGAL term for NGRI is different from what we, as laypeople, think of the word "insane". Here is a wikipedia excerpt on the subject:

    In criminal trials, the insanity defenses are possible defenses by excuse, an affirmative defense by which defendants argue that they should not be held criminally liable for breaking the law, as they were legally insane at the time of the commission of alleged crimes. A defendant attempting such a defense will often be required to first undergo a mental examination. The legal definition of "insane" in this context is quite different from psychiatric definitions of "mentally ill", also that the definition of insanity varies between jurisdictions.

    When the insanity defense is successful, the defendant may be committed to a hospital.

    In the United Kingdom and the United States, use of the defense is rare and it is more common to rely upon a state of temporary mental impairment.

    In the United States a state of temporary mental impairment is not a defense. It falls under the category of a mitigating factor referred to as "diminished capacity". A mitigating factor (which can include conditions not eligible for the insanity defense such as intoxication) can be used to attempt a reduction of the charges to a lesser offense or in a reduced sentence.

    The insanity defense is available in most jurisdictions that respect human rights and have a rule of law, though the extent to which it can be applied may differ widely between jurisdictions.

    The insanity defense is based on evaluations by forensic professionals that the defendant was incapable of distinguishing between right and wrong at the time the offense was committed. In addition, some jurisdictions require that the evaluation address the issue of whether the defendant was able to control his behavior at the time of the offense. A defendant making the insanity argument might be said to be pleading "not guilty by reason of insanity" (NGRI). A successful NGRI defense can result in an indeterminate commitment to a psychiatric facility.

    Diminished responsibility (or diminished capacity) can be employed as a mitigating factor and is applicable to more circumstances than the insanity defense in the United States. For example, some jurisdictions accept inebriation or other drug intoxication as a mitigating factor, whereas intoxication alone is not accepted as an insanity defense. If diminished responsibility (or capacity) is presented convincingly, the charges may be reduced to a lesser offense or the sentence may be more lenient.



    In reading this, you are correct. By pleaing NGRI, one ADMITS guilt. If the state of insanity at the time of the crime is not established, one would open themselves up to an admission of guilt. However, by raising such issues (mental illness), I would expect to see a plea bargain by the state (which I disagree with in most cases). There usually would be some degree of leniancy.

    The actual success rate of NGRI is low. I am surprised S.Smith got away with it, but if anyone ever could, it would be her. You are correct, in her calling police, prior knowledge of the husband of her severe depression, etc. That case was really one that could have potentially been prevented, IMO. The history of post partum psychosis was really the clincher. A very sad, unfortunate case for sure.

    Thanks for your well thought out post.

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    Quote Originally Posted by snapdragon View Post
    In reading this, you are correct. By pleaing NGRI, one ADMITS guilt. If the state of insanity at the time of the crime is not established, one would open themselves up to an admission of guilt. However, by raising such issues (mental illness), I would expect to see a plea bargain by the state (which I disagree with in most cases). There usually would be some degree of leniancy...

    Thanks for your well thought out post.
    Thank you for your explanation!

    And just for the sake of giving credit where credit is due, it was Salem who first raised the point that when a defendant pleads NGRI they are also admitting guilt.

    I find it interesting that when the defense puts the mental illness card on the table they seem to be expecting a plea bargain or leniency. I would think that if they truly believed in their heart of hearts that their client was mentally ill and needed to be in a mental institution they would fight for that to occur much harder. I could be looking for ways to prove that these attorneys are full of ***** to begin with.

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