Photo of Attorneys at Sawyer Legal Group, LLC
Photo of Attorneys at Sawyer Legal Group, LLC

Charged With A Crime? It Doesn’t Mean You’re Guilty.

Mental Condition Evidence without Insanity Plea

On Behalf of | Apr 12, 2012 | Insanity |

Denver Criminal Defense Attorney – Mental Conditions Matter

Evidence of someone’s mental condition at trial is admissible without an insanity plea, according to a new case issued by the Colorado Supreme Court. This is significant because in many felony cases from Denver, Jefferson, and Adams County involving Theft, Burglary, or Sexual Assault, the mental state of the accused is a required element of the crime and impacts a jury’s deliberations on findings of intent. Intent is also known as the mens res of the case. When a defendant accused of a serious felony case in Arapahoe, Douglas and Weld County, he often says he did not “knowingly” commit the crime, even though he admits he committed the crime. Our experienced lawyers know that the mental state of the accused is very important, particularly for people whose mental condition is not so bad that they can prove they were insane. The requirements of an Insanity Plea are very strict and difficult to meet, 16-8-101.5.

Mental Health Affirmative Defense in Broomfield

In a recent Clear Creek County Court felony Violation of Bond case, C.R.S. 18-8-212, a man wanted to introduce evidence that he did not “knowingly” miss his court appearance, but instead, that he wrote his court date down wrong. This man wrote down his next court date as the 19th of the month, when it was really the 16th. In a ridiculous move, the District Attorney’s Office for Clear Creek County filed bond condition violation charges for failure to come to court three days late on the 16th, even though the man came to court on the 19th. His attorney did a good job and tried to admit evidence of the defendant’s dyslexia and how this impacted writing down numbers inaccurately.

Mental Health Examination in Doulgas County

The District Attorney for Clear Creek County asked the judge to put the man in custody for 45 days to have a mental health examination. This “in-custody” requirement is only for insanity pleas, which the man did not give. Neither the DA nor the judge appreciated the difference between an insanity plea and a simple mental health evidence defense. They are very different.  Mental health evidence is permitted under C.R.S. 16-8-107, and 16-8-109.  When combined with an applicable Affirmative Defense, mental health evidence can be powerful.

If you or your family member is charged with a crime, you need an attorney experienced with insanity and mental health pleas. They are complicated cases which require a full-time criminal defense lawyer, not someone who practices criminal law and all the others part-time. When contacted by the police, exercise your right to remain silent and call us at 303-731-0719. Together, we can protect your future.