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  1. #1
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    Not guilty by reason of insanity

    Does anybody else feel like this line of defense is abused? Not saying there aren't those who should be shown leniency based on their mental condition, but I think it's getting ridiculous. Some people that should be given the death penalty wind up doing a couple of years in a mental hospital (if that) then there are free to wreak havoc on our city streets again. It's almost like, why bother punishing anyone? Just claim you were insane at the time when the offense occured.

    Here is the story that provoked me to create this topic....

    Stolen from: http://www.clickondetroit.com/news/7018955/detail.html

    Killer Mom Who Cut Off Child's Arms Called 'Sweet'



    POSTED: 5:24 pm EST February 13, 2006
    UPDATED: 6:21 pm EST February 13, 2006


    McKINNEY, Texas -- A Texas woman is claiming she was insane when she killed her 10-month-old daughter by cutting off the baby's arms with a kitchen knife.

    Dena Schlosser's attorney says his 37-year-old client is "a sweet woman" who wasn't capable of knowing what she was doing was wrong. Schlosser said nothing and stared straight ahead as her lawyer entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity.

    The prosecutor contends Schlosser may have had mental problems, but she did know right from wrong when she killed her daughter.

    Schlosser was arrested in 2004 after she called 911. Police say they found Schlosser in the living room of her home, covered in blood, holding a knife and listening to a church hymn.
    Last edited by 'K-; 02-13-2006 at 08:19 PM.

  2. #2
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    Re: Not guilty by reason of insanity

    It is very infrequent that people get off of a charge on this basis. In case you haven't noticed, we execute mentally handicapped people in this country (generally those red states who follow the forgiving teachings of Jesus ). People may try to use this defense, but it's pretty hard to actually quality for it and then even harder to get a COPS watching jury to go for it.

  3. #3
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    Re: Not guilty by reason of insanity

    ^^Check me on this but I think thats in reverse. Only a small handfull of states dont accept the defense. Montana...Utah and a few others.

    edit

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontl...al/states.html
    Last edited by jimzinsocal; 02-13-2006 at 09:04 PM.

  4. #4
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    Re: Not guilty by reason of insanity

    Quote Originally Posted by afalzone
    It is very infrequent that people get off of a charge on this basis. In case you haven't noticed, we execute mentally handicapped people in this country (generally those red states who follow the forgiving teachings of Jesus ). People may try to use this defense, but it's pretty hard to actually quality for it and then even harder to get a COPS watching jury to go for it.
    I don't care what you say or what kind of spin you try to put on it but there are some people that LITERALLY get away with murder. Below is a link to exactly what type of situation I am talking about. It's getting totally out of hand ........

    http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/a...=2006602020646

    Quote Originally Posted by Detroit Free Press
    Prosecutors to fight release of killer
    Quote Originally Posted by Detroit Free Press

    Mentally ill Troy man beat his mother to death in 2000 February 2, 2006

    BY L.L. BRASIER

    FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER

    State psychiatrists say a Troy man who bludgeoned and mutilated his mother to death in 2000 should be released from an institution, placed in a group home and eventually returned to the community because his mental illness is in remission.


    Oakland County prosecutors, however, plan to fight his release at a hearing Wednesday.

    James Yang, 30, was found not guilty by reason of insanity in Oakland County Circuit Court in 2001 after he beat his mother, Kazuyo Yang, 58, to death with a chair leg, crowbar, hammer and iron weights in their Troy home. He used a hacksaw to cut off her face and then ate her eyes.

    Yang, who has schizophrenia, has spent the last two years under psychiatric care at the Caro Regional Mental Health Center in the western Thumb. Doctors there determined in November that he has improved enough to begin assimilating back into the community. An independent committee of doctors at the state's Center for Forensic Psychiatry in Ypsilanti that is charged with reviewing such cases agrees and has recommended that Yang be allowed to leave the mental hospital.

    "Yes, he couldn't have committed a worse crime," his attorney, Scott Neumann, said Wednesday. "But the question is: What do you do with him? Do you penalize him forever? The community would say, 'Yes, lock him up forever.' But he is not a danger, and under the law, he will eventually be released."

    A hearing on the matter will be held in Tuscola County Probate Court in Caro on Wednesday, although the jurisdiction of the case remains in Oakland County. Lisa Ortlieb, Oakland County assistant prosecutor, said her office will fight the release.

    "It's unbelieveable," Ortlieb said. "This is a man who brutally, brutally murdered his mother. What's to keep him from going off his medicine and harming another person?"

    The judge will ultimately decide, although judges generally follow the recommendations of experts. Prosecutors are expected to ask the court to allow them to have Yang evaluated by their own psychiatrists.

    Yang will be placed by Oakland's Community Mental Health Authority in a supervised group home with others recovering from mental illness and will not be allowed to leave or be left unattended. If he remains well, he will eventually, with doctors' approval, be allowed to live on his own.

    The killing shocked police officers who arrived at the Yang home on May 1, 2000.

    Yang, according to reports, was clearly in a psychotic state and could not tell police his name or whether he was a man or a woman. He believed his mother was the devil. Police at first could not determine her gender because her body was so badly mutiliated.

    Eric Hufnagel, chief executive officer of the National Schizophrenia Foundation, based in Lansing, said statistics show people who suffer from the disease are no more violent than the general public. Violence among those with schizophrenia is more likely to occur soon after patients are released from the hospital and if there are substance abuse problems.

    "I don't think that it's fair to assume that that is something that is going to repeat itself," he said. "I know of people who committed an act of violence once and never have again."

    Contact L.L. BRASIER at 248-858-2262 or brasier@freepress.com.
    Last edited by 'K-; 02-13-2006 at 09:35 PM.

  5. #5
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    Re: Not guilty by reason of insanity

    If someone is found guilty by mental defect they're basically being said to not have even had enough mental capacity to know right from wrong. Verdicts like this are very rare, those found not guilty for this reason represent a small number of those cases where the defense is actually tried and juries tend to be quite conservative when they reach such a verdict. There is nothing in the link you posted that shows that it was an incorrect verdict. You can get the whole forum up in arms about this, but really it is a non-issue.

  6. #6
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    Re: Not guilty by reason of insanity

    Why a non issue?^^ I believe folks have every right to question the wisdom and criteria where this affirmative defense is used. "dosent bother me or affect me so no discussion" is the rule?

    Anyway.

    I believe there are legitimate reasons for the defense...and certainly Im strongest when the issue is an individual without the normal capacity. I personally have a hard time imposing the death penalty on someone so mentally deficient that a sense of right or wrong is vacant.

    But some of the defenses? Brought on by an ever expanding list of what constitutes a mental defect? Please. Taken to an extreme? No criminal is responsible. And for me that is bull shit.

  7. #7
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    Re: Not guilty by reason of insanity

    It's a non-issue because it is successfully used in so few cases. The public perception of it is different as it becomes sensationalized when it is commonly used. This is similar to the perception that crime rates are rising. This again is caused by sensationalization of the crime events that do happen. The ever increasing list may be there, but the test of whether someone is not guilty by insanity has remained constant.

  8. #8
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    Re: Not guilty by reason of insanity

    ^^I understand..< than 1% as a matter of fact. But does the number diminish the value of the concern? Will you buy my justification for wiretaps on folks located inside the US because the "numbers" are small? After all were only talking about perhaps 6 or so per month.
    But the number is small.

  9. #9
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    Re: Not guilty by reason of insanity

    I personally like the take a gentleman named John Douglas has on this topic. He's one of the guys who founded the FBI's profiler unit and wrote the book "Mindhunter". Great book, by the way.

    Anyway, he commented that of all the people he knew to try the insanity defense, he was 100% positive none would have "done the deed" with a cop looking over their shoulder. For me that ought to be the test. Danged if I know how you could accurately administer such a criteria.

  10. #10
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    Re: Not guilty by reason of insanity

    ^^I know the book. Similar to Silence of the Lambs...that sort of deal and I think characters are based on one another.

    Yeah...I get your point.

  11. #11
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    Re: Not guilty by reason of insanity

    The point I think Afalzone is trying to make is that its just plea that is entered. Just because they enter it as thier plea/defense doesnt mean they are going to get off. As he said, very few do. Its not being abused because its not working. The lady in the first link just entered her plea, she lives in Texas. She is probably gonna get the chair. The second story posted is a guy who is definitely mentally ill. He's on meds and no one wants him free and off them....I dont see how that correlates to an abused plea.

    I agree, criminals use it too much, but I dont care because rarely do they actually get that 6 - 24 monts treatment and release. rather they get 6-24 years and a guy named T-bone releasing something in them
    MOLE!!!

  12. #12
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    Re: Not guilty by reason of insanity

    The examples given as examples are extremely poor, since they basically only describe the act of crime and state almost nothing about the mental illnesses of the accused. Schizophrenia is not a 'fun' illness to have, a much worse punishment than any prison sentence and a major cause of suicides.

  13. #13
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    Re: Not guilty by reason of insanity

    True, I've worked in a hospital and seen some truly ill people, its not easy to fake and worsre to actually have. I'm pretty sure that most cases of insanity pleas are ignored unless the defendant has a history of mental illness, and even that doesnt always carry you very far. I remember seeing a story of a guy who killed his wife, and he claimed to be mentally ill, having gone so far as to do goofy stuff for the months prior to his murder (riding his bike butt naked at midnight and claiming he didnt know how/why, ect). I'm pretty sure that was struck down too. If I could remember and decent details I'd google it, but even still, its a reasonable defense and I say let them try. Chances are its not gonna work.
    MOLE!!!

  14. #14
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    Re: Not guilty by reason of insanity

    seems to be a history of unstable behavior.

    Father Testifies in Baby Amputation Case

    In the weeks after her daughter was born, Dena Schlosser cut her wrists with scissors. Her husband said she once ran away from their apartment, leaving baby Maggie alone.
    Testimony resumed Wednesday with the defense continuing to detail the incident when Dena Schlosser abruptly left her apartment complex and was found by Plano police two miles away. The children were home alone.
    Defense witness Dr. Nasir Zaki testified that the Schlossers never told him about Dena Schlosser's extreme behavior days before a May 2004 psychiatric appointment. Schlosser left home in the middle of the night and went to a hospital, where she was found passed out on the floor, records show.
    The Schlossers attended the non-denominational Water of Life Church, whose leader Doyle Davidson seeks to exorcise women of a wicked ``jezebel spirit,'' defense attorney William Schultz said.
    She had been accused of child neglect in the months before Margaret's death, but a state investigation found Dena Schlosser did not pose a risk to the 10-month-old or her other two daughters. The case was one of a number of high-profile deaths that led to recommendations to overhaul the state's child welfare agency.


    bb

  15. #15
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    Re: Not guilty by reason of insanity

    Another thing I don't like is the weak punishment "proven" mentally ill people receive. Maybe punishment isn't the word, but follow me now. I have a cousin who is schizophrenic. When he's on his medication he's fine. In fact, you couldn't tell the difference between him and anyone else. Off of his medication he's a complete nut. I don't even have enough time to type out all of the things he done and problems he's caused. All I will say is this ... YOU CAN'T FORCE AN ADULT TO TAKE MEDICATION OR BE COMMITTED! Therefore, who's the say the guy in my second link won't commit this crime again?

    "Oh, he's better now" "We see remarkable improvement" "Awwww, he's so remorseful"

    All it takes is a few months out of the hospital and the guy to say to himself, "hey gee, I feel fine, I don't need this stupid medication anymore." Then guess what ....

    The only point that I'll concede is maybe I fell for the hype assuming there are more cases where people get off on insanity pleas than there really are. But I still think this guy is getting off way too easy. Even if we don't continue to punish him, shouldn't we be keeping better tabs on him than that?

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