Monday, February 23, 2015

PLEADING INSANITY

Trying Sanity: What Does Gary Lee Bullock's Insanity Plea Mean? - THADEUS GREENSON/THE JOURNAL

‘I was insane at the time’: Bullock enters revised not guilty plea - Will Houston, Eureka Times-Standard
Attorneys involved in the case are unable to comment due to a gag order, but former District Attorney Paul Gallegos said the case could proceed in a few different ways with the new plea.

“Speaking generally, what happens is they entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity. The court has to appoint experts and the experts will do their investigation. They will make reports,” he said. “The trial itself is a bifurcated trial, which means it’s split. The first part is the guilt phase and then there is a sanity phase.”

Should a defendant be found guilty of a crime after pleading not guilty by reason of insanity, Gallegos said the jury must then follow a section in the state penal code known as the M’Naghten Rule in order to determine whether the defendant was legally insane at the time of the accused act. Under the rule, a defense of insanity can be found by a judge or jury “only when the accused person proves by a preponderance of the evidence that he or she was incapable of knowing or understanding the nature and quality of his or her act and of distinguishing right from wrong at the time of the commission of the offense.”

Gallegos said both provisions in the M’Naughten Rule must be found by a jury in order for a defendant to be found legally insane.

“The jury is going to judge that based on the evidence presented,” he said.

Gallegos said that there are other possible routes these types of cases can take, such as a resolution being reached before it goes to trial.

“If the evidence is overwhelming that someone was insane, there might be a stipulation on that,” he said. “There are all sorts of possibilities.”
DOLLISON’S DOCKET: The Insanity Defense: Legal Farce or Important Protection for the Mentally Ill? - Allan L. Dollison/Lost Coast Outpost

...Although the standards for a successful NGI plea differ by state to state, most are verbatim or a modified version of what is called the M’Naghten Rule (a nearly 200-year-old rule from England). A recent article in the North Coast Journal actually did not state the right definition of California’s Insanity law. It stated “…the evidence shows the defendant both didn’t understand the “nature and quality of his act” and wasn’t able to distinguish between right and wrong…” However, pursuant to the actual CALCRIM, and other articles on the subject, the standard in California is not for both of those elements. It is actually an “either/or” proposition, not an “and” proposition. Former DA Paul Gallegos also made that same mistake in an article on Bullock in the Times-Standard.

If a defendant can show that he did not understand the nature of his criminal act or did not understand that it was wrong, as a result of a mental disease or defect, then by definition that defendant is legally insane. Also, the defendant has the burden of proof in an insanity trial, but in California it is the lowest civil burden, called “Preponderance of the Evidence,” or more likely than not. A jury must still be unanimous when it rules on this.... KEEP READING

Dollison on the Docket on LOCO features not guilty by insanity and it's impact on Gary Lee Bullock's change of plea
Will Fr. Eric's murderer go for California's Insanity Defense aka the McNaghten rule?

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