The Insanity Defense

We have all heard the “definition” of insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. That is, of course, not the legal definition, which involves a defendant having a mental illness causing the inability to determine fantasy from reality at the time defendant committed the crime.

Insanity is available as a defense in Indiana, and in Patterson v. State the Indiana Court of Appeals clarified its mechanics. In Patterson the Defendant was initially charged and convicted of multiple counts stemming from using a fake ID to acquire a handheld firearm used to shoot the landlord over a rent dispute. At trial, the court had Patterson evaluated by two medical professionals, one of whom believed Patterson was sane while the other believed Patterson was insane.

The Defendant appealed the convictions, arguing that after the insanity defense was asserted, it became the State’s burden, or responsibility, to prove that the Defendant was sane. The Court of Appeals held that it was actually the Defendant’s burden to prove that the Defendant was insane. The Court further held that the Jury’s rejection of the insanity defense was not contrary to law. The jury, not medical professionals, ultimately determine whether a defendant is legally insane, and the evidence did not support overturning the case.

You do not have to be insane to expect just results when you hire a lawyer. The Yoder Kraus & Jessup difference is that we practice the law the way it should be done. We listen. We care. We can help.

Anthony L. Kraus

 

Attorney Kraus has nearly 30 years of experience in Criminal Law, Family Law, and Litigation. He is a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys and the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association.

 

 

 

A PDF version of this article is available here.