We are not too far past the guilt phase of the Aurora theatre shooting trial in Arapahoe County, and the Insanity phase is underway. This made me consider what’s next for the jury and their important decision making. Let’s take a look at the law on the subject of Insanity and give you the tools to help decide whether this valuable defense is appropriate to use in this murder and homicide case. Read about the Difference Between Incompetency vs. Insanity.
The Importance of Insanity in Arapahoe and Douglas County, Colorado
Here’s why the term “Insanity” is so important:
“A person who is insane, as defined in section 16-8-101.5 C.R.S., is not responsible for his or her conduct defined as criminal. Insanity as a defense shall not be an issue in any prosecution unless it is raised by a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity as provided in section 16-8-103, C.R.S.”
The Definition of Insane in Denver
Since we have this valuable rule related to persons who acted criminally while Insane, we need to know how to qualify as Insane. Here is the definition of Insane in Colorado, from C.R.S. 16-8-101.5:
The applicable test of Insanity shall be:
(a) A person who is so diseased or defective in mind at the time of the commission of the act as to be incapable of distinguishing right from wrong with respect to that act is not accountable; except that care should be taken not to confuse such mental disease or defect with moral obliquity, mental depravity, or passion growing out of anger, revenge, hatred, or other motives and kindred evil conditions, for, when the act is induced by any of these causes, the person is accountable to the law; or
(b) A person who suffered from a condition of mind caused by mental disease or defect that prevented the person from forming a culpable mental state that is an essential element of a crime charged, but care should be taken not to confuse such mental disease or defect with moral obliquity, mental depravity, or passion growing out of anger, revenge, hatred, or other motives and kindred evil conditions because, when the act is induced by any of these causes, the person is accountable to the law.
Applying the Law of Insanity to Your Criminal Case
The role of a defense lawyer in Jefferson and Adams County is to get the jury to see the full extent of a person’s mental sickness, and how that influenced the defendant in the commission of a crime. This is done through expert testimony and by pointing out the irrational conduct our client. The bottom line is that we want the jury to feel our client was a complete mess at the time of the offense. If our client did not know what he was doing, i.e., “incapable of distinguishing right from wrong” and “suffered from a condition of mind which . . . prevented the person from forming a culpable mental state that is an essential element of the crime,” then the jury can find him Insane. The Insanity defense is a wonderful tool for those truly suffering from such mental condition.
Unfortunately, the claim of Insanity is used too frequently when a person is caught cold committing a serious crime. It is a long-shot defense, but sometimes the only thing a defendant and his lawyers have to use. The problem is that its overuse takes cases where men and women really are sick or insane, and makes a jury skeptical to their legitimate claim.
If you or a family member has a valid claim for Insanity where they did not know what they were doing when they violated the law, give us a call. We care about people and want to see the mentally ill protected. They should be given the right care and then returned to society once they are safe. We can help.
So we can do our best, never let your loved one speak with police or be interviewed by a therapist, psychologist or psychiatrist. Next, call our Insanity attorneys at 303-731-0719 today. Together, we can protect your loved one’s future.