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Well, now that you put it that way...
"I am guilty, your honor. And so am I!"
I like the guilty plea, so rare in our lawyerized culture. A horrible incident ends the way it should.
So if you're sane now, you can be convicted for something that you did when you weren't sane? Were they just sane-ing him up so he could plead? Was he or was he not sane when he shot to kill? Was that ever determined?
I wonder if he will continue to be force fed his meds?
Am I the only one who reads through the comments section of the articles that Althouse links to and feels better about the quality of our commenters?
@MadisonMan Good questions, but you have to distinguish 2 issues relating to sanity: 1. competence to stand trial and 2. the scope of the insanity defense. If he's not competent to stand trial, he'll be institutionalized for his insanity. If he can stand trial, then you move on to the issues, and he can attempt to win by fitting into the insanity defense as defined in the state's law. #1 relates to his state now, and #2 relates to the time of the crime.
"Am I the only one who reads through the comments section of the articles that Althouse links to and feels better about the quality of our commenters?"I know!
This is one more sign that the public does not trust psychiatry. Sure as hell some idiot would some day decide he is cured and let him go. He would then stop his meds and we would be back to the day before he shot Gifford. The loss of the ability to commit the criminally insane for life strikes again.
I believe that this guilty plea will be a setup to ask for a new trial because the medications may have altered this sub-human's ability to actually plead not guilty instead.
Bet he's out on some special experimental program in 10.
Insanity is a term of art in criminal law. It is not necessarily synonymous with mentally ill. Nor is it necessarily the same as mentally incompetent.To be sure, of the evidence that has been publicly disclosed, he might very well have been quite mentally ill and disturbed the day of the shooting, but all indications are that he was very much sane.
As for those rare guilty pleas -- of those not dismissed by the prosecution, more than 90 percent of all criminal cases end in guilty pleas.Relatively few cases ever go to trial. It is too much of a gamble.
... he might very well have been quite mentally ill and disturbed the day of the shooting, but all indications are that he was very much sane.I'll argue that being forcibly medicated by the State so you can plead is a tacit admission by the State that you were insane. Insane in the legal sense I'm not sure of, because I don't know the law. And there's always the question of when his insanity kicked in.
I don't think insanity pleas should be used as some kind of special case in criminal proceedings. I never have and I never will. Yet no one seems to ever wonder why the insane decide to kill people and yet when caught use the defense that they didn't know what they were doing because they were insane. This make no sense and shouldn't be inadmissible as a defense.
This clown had a long history with the Pima County Sheriffs dept. Several media organizations filed FOIA requests, were given two reports from the Community College cops and told that's all there was. Typical public sector bucksnort.
The success rate of mental illness defenses, or any other defenses, is extremely low in a Federal Court when the charge is assassinating a Federal Judge, and incidentally also wounding of a Congresswoman.They want everybody to think if it as the justice system sending a message. Death penalty issues? Hell no!
What about forcing the guy to take drugs? If he were a Christian Scientist can the state legally force the guy to take drugs?I don't like forcing people to take pills. Dangerous things. I suppose the frustration is with the "right to a speedy trial." The right answer in these cases seems to me to be "Send the guy to the Asylum, and if he or she gets better, then they stand trial."
Most plea no contest or a Alford plea.
@MadisonMan Good questions, but you have to distinguish 2 issues relating to sanity: 1. competence to stand trial and 2. the scope of the insanity defense. If he's not competent to stand trial, he'll be institutionalized for his insanity. If he can stand trial, then you move on to the issues, and he can attempt to win by fitting into the insanity defense as defined in the state's law. #1 relates to his state now, and #2 relates to the time of the crime. I really want to understand this, but cannot. Can someone pls translate to English?
And did we ever find out what Loughner has against the congresswoman. The article says he considers himself a failure because she is still alive. But he feels remorse for some he did murder, especially the youngest victim.
H T...The present mental state is also the ability of the defendant to assist his attorney in mking a defense question, that is tied to the defendant's procedural right to effective assistance of counsel or he cannot be convicted.Incidentally, that is why the much hated good defense lawyer is a necessary part of every conviction and all stops without one.The other question is about the mental state at the moment of the killing...could he know right from wrong, or was he acting under a delusion?Why our super ethics does not convict the mentall ill who need it more than most is a Biblical standard, of all things.In the Bible a man could be insane from demons(evil spirits) until one day that they leave him and regains "his right mind."So as concientious Christians we must wait for that moment to release him and then all he did was the demons fault but not his.
@ Thorley 4:37Yes.Amazing, isn't it?(or ... aren't we? ;-) )
So if you're sane now, you can be convicted for something that you did when you weren't sane?Insanity is a defense. If you plead guilty, you don't offer a defense -- you admit you did it.
It' Yossarian's catch-22.If he pleads not guilty he faces a sure death penalty for killing the Federal Judge, which shows right there that he is insane.But if he pleads guilty, he gets Life which is what he would have gotten if was found insane, which he never would have been. But the plea lets him serve Life in a prison instead of medicated and harrassed by 2nd rate psychiatrists among really psychotic creeps, yet still never be released.
Thorley,Many of us have noticed this, but you may be the only one that reads through those other comment sections. For me, a brief dip now and then is enough.:-)
English translation from the lawyerese:First you have to figure out whether the person is mentally there enough to be put on trial. The person needs to be able to assist in their defense, understand decisions (like whether to take a plea bargain), etc. If they are not mentally there enough for a trial, you put them in a mental hospital until they are well enough to be put on trial (if ever).If they are (or become) mentally competent enough to stand trial, then they can claim they were insane at the time of the crime. But until they're sane enough to stand trial, it's not relevant because it's something you bring up as a defense to the charges, and defenses don't matter until they actually are able to have a trial.Also, the two things are independent. A person could have been sane at the time of the crime, but be mentally incompetent to stand trial (went crazy after arrest, had a brain injury, etc.). Or vice versa: insane at the time of the crime, then arrested and medicated, becoming sane enough to be tried. Insanity defense is about what the person's mind was like at the time of the crime; competence to stand trial is about what their state of mind is now.
It's a mark of our barbarity that we would render an insane man provisionally and artificially "sane" through use of mandatory psychotropic medications, simply in order to justify convicting him of murder in order to put him in prison for life.Isn't the question NOT whether he is "sane" now but whether he was sane when he committed his violent acts?
"I don't think insanity pleas should be used as some kind of special case in criminal proceedings. I never have and I never will. Yet no one seems to ever wonder why the insane decide to kill people and yet when caught use the defense that they didn't know what they were doing because they were insane. This make no sense and shouldn't be inadmissible as a defense."The truly insane don't just "decide" to kill someone as you or I might decide to have a baloney sandwich for lunch. Their actions, impulses and "decisions" are irrational. The truly insane also don't just "use the insanity defense" as a tactic to spare themselves. This is typically the defense attorney's decision as the best choice of defense, as, for the truly insane, it is a defense.
Let me see if I get this. It's not dangerous to say "I'm not sane enough to stand trial," because all that can do is delay the trial.But it is very dangerous to go to trial with an insanity defense, because you might be found sane at the time, and in a case like this, you will probably get the death penalty.
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