Insanity or Lack of Criminal Responsibility
By definition, a person is lacking in criminal responsibility if he suffers from a mental disease or defect, and as a result, either he is substantially unable to appreciate the criminality or wrongfulness of his conduct; or he is substantially unable to conform his conduct to the requirements of the law.
When an Insanity or Defense of Lack of Criminal Responsibility is raised, the burden is not on the defendant to prove any lack of criminal responsibility. Rather, under Massachusetts criminal law, the prosecutor bears the burden of proving, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant committed the crime(s) with which he is charged, and also that the defendant is criminally responsibile for his conduct.
The term "mental disease or defect" is a legal and not a medical term, and does not include an abnormality manifested only by repeated criminal conduct. If the prosecutor persuades the jury that the defendant committed the crime charge and did not have a mental disease or defect when he committed the crime, then the jury could find that the defendant was criminal responsible.
If, however, the jurors have a reasonable doubt whether the defendant had a mental disease or defect, then in order to find him criminally responsible, the prosecutor must prove that, despite any mental disease or defect, the defendant nevertheless possessed substantial capacity both to appreciate the criminality or wrongfulness of his conduct and to conform his conduct to the law.
What is mean by the word "appreciate" above means to understand rather than to merely know. The prosecutor must prove that the defendant knew and understood that his conduct was illegal or that it was wrong. It is not enough for the prosecutor to show that the defendant merely had knowledge or an intellectual awareness that his conduct was wrong; rather, the prosecutor must prove that a mental disease or defect did not deprive the defendant of a meaningful understanding and intelligent comprehension of the legal or moral import of his conduct.
Boston Criminal Defense Attorney Lefteris K. Travayiakis has experience in representing persons against criminal charges who also suffer from some sort of mental disease or defect and where Insanity or Lack of Criminal Responsibility is to be raised as a defense, and with many other Defenses in Criminal Cases.
To schedule a Free Consultation with Boston Criminal Lawyer Lefteris K. Travayiakis, Contact Us Online or call 617-325-9500.