3 Mental State at Offense One of the most difficult and bloodcurdling tasks of a forensic psychologistit is RETROSPECTIVEMOTIVATIONAL factors affect current presentationIt requires “point in time” determinationRequires “investigative reconstruction” of crime events, often involving information psychologists are not used to reviewingCrime scene information – behavioral/motivational reconstruction
4 History of Insanity Defense Basic Concept: free willHas existed or many centuriesMc’Naghten Case (1840’s) – emphasizes cognitive understanding“Irresistable Impulse” rule – volitional control standardDurham vs. United States: “product” of mental disease or defect (1954); also known as the “but for” testAmerican Law Institute Model Penal Code: cognition (appreciation) vs. volition (control)1984 Congress: wrongfulness appreciationVERY rare defense (<<l%, and of that, rarely successful)
5 Pre-M’Naghten13th century: “man must be totally deprived of his understanding and memory so as not to know what he is doing, no more than an infant, brute or a wild beast” (Melton, 1997, p. 190).
6 M’Naghten (narrow) 1843: murder of Prime Minister’s assistant M’Naghten acquitted based on mental disorderHouse of Lords later ruled: “To establish a defense on the ground of insanity, it must be clearly proved that, at the time of committing of the act, the party accused was laboring under such a defect of reason, from disease of the mind, as not to know the nature and quality of the act that he was doing (PRONG 1), or, if he did know it, that he did not know what he was doing was wrong (PRONG 2)”M’Naghten committed to Bedlam, eventually died in another hospital after decades of “treatment”
7 ExampleDefendant bites another person because he believes him to be a piece of chicken (crime: battery)Could prove insanity under Prong 1Defendant bites another person, knowing him to be a person, but not knowing that biting is painful and can injure the other personCould prove insanity under Prong 2
8 Durham v. United StatesThis ruling is the source of the “product test” Durham v. U.S. (214 F.2d 862)“an accused is not criminally responsible if his unlawful act was the product of a mental disease or defect”Way more “generous” than McNaghtenProblems:what is a “product”? (i.e., what is the causative chain?)Which mental diseases qualify?Case eventually overturned (US v. Brawner, 471F .2d 969 (1972). Places too much emphasis on expertsNow of mainly historical significance
9 American Law Institute (ALI, 1955) Compromise between McNaghten and DurhamA person is not responsible for criminal conduct if at the time of such conduct as a result of mental disease or defect he lacks substantial capacity either to appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct or to conform his conduct to the requirements of the lawSome ‘mental disorders’ excluded (e.g., antisocial PD)Changes from beforeChange implication of “full” (did not know) to “substantial” (appreciate)Change “know” to “appreciate”Change “criminality” to “wrongfulness”Essentially eliminated repeated acts in and of themselves (e.g., APD)Was widely popular for a time; now no longer used federally, and only 18 states use the ALI test
10 “Irresistable Impulse” (ca 1960) “Volitional” vs. “cognitive” insanityTechnically, this is “diminished capacity” defense, not insanity; used to mitigateThe defendant is not legally responsible:“if by reason of the duress of mental disease he had so far lost the power to choose between right and wrong, and to avoid doing the act in question that his free agency was destroyed” (a tough test, see below)act the product of mental disease solelyMost relevant to impulse control disordersProblem: how do you distinguish an “irresistable impulse” from an “impulse not resisted”?
11 Three Variations on Irresistable Impulse (l) Defendant 'acted from an irresistible and uncontrollable impulse';(2) Defendant 'lost the power to choose between the right and wrong, and to avoid doing the act in question, as that his free agency was at the time destroyed';(3) Defendant's 'will has been otherwise than voluntarily so completely destroyed that his actions are not subject to it, but are beyond his control.'
12 State Interpretations (subject to change) One-half use M’NaghtenOne-third of states use ALIThree states have reference to “irresistable impulse”Four states have abolished insanity defense altogether (Montana, Idaho, Utah, Kansas)NH: “product” of mental disease or defect”
13 Generally Excluded Mental Disorders Antisocial personalityAdjustment disorder“Compulsive” disordersSeizure disorders allowable in some jurisdictions, not in others – clinical considerations (i.e., is it possible to execue an articulated plan while in seizure mode?) are important
14 1984 Congress (Insanity Defense Reform Act) Reform in response to Hinckley verdict (aquitted on volitional prong of ALI)1980’s ABA and APA standards: “A person is not responsible for criminal conduct if, at the time of such conduct, and as a result of mental disease or defect, that person was unable to appreciate the wrongfulness of their conduct”1984 Congress adopts ABA standard (cognitive prong of ALI)Defense has burden (affirmative defense)clear and convincing evidence needed
15 Cases in which MSO/Insanity Was Considered Kip Kinkel, l7, shot 29 people in an Oregon school rampage in 1998; heard “command” voices; abandoned insanity defense, got 25+ yearsDavid Berkowitz, “Son of Sam” killings NYC, eventually recanted the “possessed dog” explanation and was sentenced to 365 years in jailTed Bundy; US serial killer l974-l978; responsible for an estimated 40 murders; executed 1989 in FL electric chairSirhan Sirhan: murdered Robert Kennedy l968; convicted, sentenced to death; commuted to life in prison; unsuccessful irresistable impulseHenry Lee Lucas; serial murderer in TX/FL l982; died in prison 2001Charles Manson; cult leader; sentenced to death; CA suspends death penalty laterJohn Wayne Gacy, used DID defense; convicted of 33 murders in l980; executed l994Ted Kaczynski, Unabomber, thought to be suffering from paranoid schizophrenia; 4 consecutive life sentencesJeffrey Dahmer; necrophilia, cannibalism, l60-page rambling confession; convicted l992, killed in prison l994
16 A notable exceptionAndrea Yates: drowned children in bathtub; history of postpartum depression, convicted in 2003; conviction overturned on appeal, was found NGRI in second trial in 2006
17 Issues in Insanity Defense All variations require mental disease or defectWrong but morally justified – wrongfulness can be interpreted as moral, not criminal, only with specific facts (in some jurisdictions)Law does not distinguish conscious from unconscious reasoningMeaning of the terms “know” and “wrong”Irresistable Impluse: “officer at the elbow test”Measures of criminal responsibility: R-CRAS
18 What the Jury is Told (CA) The defendant has been found guilty of the crime of _____. You must now determine whether [he] [she] was legally sane or legally insane at the time of the commission of the crime. This is the only issue for you to determine in this proceeding.You may consider evidence of [his/her] mental condition before, during and after the time of the commission of the crime, as tending to show the defendant's mental condition at the time the crime was committed.Mental illness and mental abnormality, in whatever form they may appear, are not necessarily the same as legal insanity. A person may be mentally ill or mentally abnormal and yet not be legally insane.A person is legally insane when by reason of mental disease or defect [he/she] was incapable of knowing or understanding the nature and quality of [his/her] act or incapable of distinguishing right from wrong at the time of the commission of the crime.The defendant has the burden of proving [his/her] legal insanity at the time of the commission of the crime by a preponderance of the evidence.
19 Burden of ProofOne-third of states require prosecution to prove sanity “beyond reasonable doubt” (90-95%)Most remaining states require defendant to prove insanity by “preponderance of evidence” (5l%)AZ and federal courts: defendant must prove sanity by “clear and convincing” evidence (75%)
20 Basic Elements of Crime Behavior Relevant to Insanity Defense physical conduct of crime (“actus reus”)mental state (level of intent) associated with the crime (“mens rea”)to convice beyond reasonable doubt, state must prove that the defendant committed the actus reus with the requisite mens rea for that crime
21 Defenses Related to Sanity Automatism Defenseacts committed “involuntarily”this is different from sanityautomatons are “unaware” (but will be held responsible if ailment had previously existed and steps were not taken to prevent or manage it)prosecution bears burden of negating automatism beyond reasonable doubtno mental disease or defect required
22 Defenses Related to Sanity Diminished Capacitymental state essentially defined culpability; planning a crime involves more intent than accidentally committing onespecific vs. general intentMens Rea components:Purpose: conscious intentKnowledge: awareness, but not conscious intentRecklessness: disregarding a substantial and unjustifiable riskNegligence: not aware of a risk, but should have been aware
23 Defenses Related to Sanity Intoxication - generally viewed negatively by the courts unless accidental (the act of intoxication is seen as volitional)Guilty but Mentally Ill - may be sentenced to any term appropriate to the offense with the opportunity to receive treatment during the period of incarceration
24 MSO EvaluationPlace emphasis on information related to crime scenario (contains mens rea information)Statements/confessions are important, but must be treated with cautionBrief MSE (for diagnosis)Discuss crime with defendantPrior records relevant to diagnosis
25 Phases of MSO Evaluation Review of RecordsIntro, orientation, rapport building for evaluation – defendant must see this as different from interrogationDevelopmental/Sociocultural historyAssessment of current mental statusMay or may not require neuropsychological assessmentShould stage assessment relative to alleged behavioral shortcomingsQuestions/descriptions of alleged crime