In the May 26th addition of WSJ there was an article about Jared Laughner, the man who shot Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 18 others leaving 6 people dead has been declared mentally unfit to stand trial. In other words: “Not guilty by reason of insanity.” Laughner was evaluated my two mental-health experts whose findings were that he was not able to understand the charges against him nor aid his attorneys in his defense.
The law varies from state to state, but in most courts that recognize the "insanity defense," someone is found to be legally insane if he or she meets one of three conditions (Partial list):
* Because of a mental disorder, the defendant did not understand that what he or she was doing was illegal.
* Because of a mental disorder, the defendant did not know what he or she was doing.
* Because of a mental disorder, the defendant was compelled to commit the crime by an irresistible force.
Insanity: “Insanity is a legal term pertaining to a defendant's ability to determine right from wrong when a crime is committed. The short version of Law.Com is: Insanity. n. mental illness of such a severe nature that a person cannot distinguish fantasy from reality, cannot conduct her/his affairs due to psychosis, or is subject to uncontrollable impulsive behavior.” Insanity though does nothing to define the true mental condition of the persons mental illness such as schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders (and I will wage about 80% that when this is over, Bipolar will be mentioned later in this case somewhere.)
However, the issue at hand is: If Laughner refuses treatment or medication can the Federal Government force him to take medication. Personally I am not a lawyer so I don’t know how it is from state-to-state, but in my state…you can. I know because of a personal experience of a family member of mine, but that will be another story…I think.
Ok, compared to hundreds of murderers, especially brutal and horrific serial killers, how can they ALL NOT be insane? I will copy direct excerpts from Wikipeda Encylycopdia on two Serial Killers found not guilty by reason of insanity.
Laughner will either spend the rest of his life in a U.S. Medical Center for Federal Prisoners, or later if the doctors decide after treatment and/or medication he is competent he will go to trial and could get the death penalty.