Justification, Excuses & Defenses – Part 2

Learning Goal: I’m working on a law multi-part question and need an explanation and answer to help me learn.

  • Joshua Dressler, UNDERSTANDING CRIMINAL LAW (8th ed. 2018) – Chapters 16-26
  • Bible
    • Matthew 15:18-20
    • Mark 7:20-23
    • Matthew 22:37
    • Romans 13
    • John 13:2, 27, 30
    • Matthew 26:24
    • Mark 14:21
    • Luke 22:3, 21-22
  • Stern – The Heart of Mens Rea

Since returning from the Afghanistan war, A – an Army veteran – has become a recluse, suffers from severe PTSD, and is addicted to a variety of illegal narcotics. His addiction becomes so severe that he ends up homeless. By this time A is barely coherent, spends most days mumbling to himself, and claims he can hear the voice of God. Eventually A adopts the unfounded belief that all humans are demons and he must kill them before they destroy the world. With knife in hand, A approaches a group of teenage girls and violently stabs them to death because he believes that God told him to do so. A is arrested and charged with murder. A successfully raises an insanity defense at trial. After A’s trial is complete, an active and vocal portion of the state legislature decides to introduce a bill banning the use of the insanity defense at trial. You are a member of the state legislature. Do you vote to abolish the insanity defense, or do you vote to uphold it? Defend your position.

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