Posted by Rose on .
Ms. Sue help me identify the following
Rational and guilty
Guilty but insane
Not guilty by reason of insanity on the text below
HE 911 CALLS BEGAN COMING JUST BEFORE 5 A.M. on June 21, 2000, from a residential neighborhood in Flagstaff, Ariz. The callers complained of a pickup repeatedly circling the block, blasting music.
Flagstaff police officer Jeff Moritz was dispatched to the area. Moments later, the sounds of at least a half-dozen gunshots pierced the predawn air. By the time the next officers arrived, the neighbors had emerged from their homes and were standing around someone lying in the street.
It was Moritz. One of the shots had struck the young officer and father through the armhole of his bulletproof vest, severing his aorta. He probably died within 30 seconds of being hit.
By day's end, 17-year-old Eric Michael Clark was in custody. In a bench trial three years later, a judge rejected Clark's insanity defense, convicted him of first-degree murder and sent him to prison for 25 years to life.
No one disputes that Clark shot Moritz. And no one denies that Clark, now 23, suffered from paranoid schizophrenia at the time. Nor does anyone say Clark should walk the streets anytime in the foreseeable future. The only question is whether Clark belongs in prison or a mental health facility.
The U.S. Supreme Court may help to answer the question after it hears Clark's challenge to Arizona's stripped-down insanity defense, which Clark says denied him a fair trial by not taking full account of his mental illness.
The case, Clark v. Arizona, No. 05-5966, marks the first time the justices will directly consider whether defendants have a constitutional right to claim insanity as a defense. Oral arguments are scheduled for April 19.
For David and Terry Clark, their son's criminal conviction represented the ultimate contradiction in terms. With one breath, the judge acknowledged Eric Clark's mental illness. With the next, he declared Clark rational and guilty.
"The judge said he was psychotic and delusional, yet he knew what he was doing," David Clark says. "If you look up those words in the dictionary, they don't even go together in the same sentence."
Dan and Janis Moritz couldn't disagree more. They say Clark knew exactly what he was doing when he gunned down their son.
"I think a lot of people are mentally ill, but that certainly shouldn't excuse them of responsibility for what they choose to do," says Dan Moritz, a psychologist with experience in evaluating criminal defendants' competency to stand trial. "I believe child molesters are mentally ill. I believe rapists are mentally ill. They punish them severely, and they should."
MAKING ILLNESS REPLACE INTENT
WHEN THE JUSTICES TAKE UP CLARK'S CASE, THEY WILL delve into an area that not only provokes public outrage at occasional acquittals in high-profile cases but also has long confounded judges, lawyers and jurors.
In a double-edged due process attack on Arizona's system, Clark wants the justices to relax restrictions the state places on the insanity defense, which accounts for mental illness with a "guilty except insane" verdict.
But in a more contentious aspect of the case, Clark also says the trial judge unfairly refused to consider evidence of his mental illness to rebut the criminal intent required for his first-degree murder conviction. Clark says he was so crazy that he believed he was shooting an alien, not a police officer, and thus lacked the intent element the state needed to prove its case.
Arizona prosecutors recognize the insanity defense as legitimate but are expected to argue that the Constitution gives the states wide leeway in defining its limits.
"It's a policy question for the legislature as to how a given state will handle that," says Randall M. Howe, chief appeals counsel for the Arizona Attorney General's Office. "The question is in what fashion and to what degree does a legal system have to take this into account."
Clark wants the Supreme Court to do two things.
First, he wants the justices to establish the historically accepted M'Naghten rule as the constitutional minimum test for insanity. In M'Naghten's modern form, a defendant who pleads insanity must prove that at the time of the offense he or she was suffering from a mental disease or disability, such as retardation, so severely as not to know either "the nature and quality of the act" or whether it was right or wrong.
Like other states, Arizona boiled M'Naghten down to its second prong--knowledge of right and wrong--in reaction to John Hinckley's successful insanity defense in the 1981 assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan.
Second, in the part of the case most closely watched by lawyers in the field, Clark asks the justices to allow him to use his mental illness to prove he was so sick at the time that he lacked the criminal intent, or mens rea, required for first-degree murder. A victory on intent could give other mentally ill defendants an important new strategy to decrease their criminal responsibility. Even if he prevails on that issue, Clark still could be convicted on a reduced charge requiring a less culpable mental state, such as recklessness.
By collapsing M'Naghten into a single prong and by foreclosing the use of psychiatric evidence to rebut mens tea, Arizona became one of only five states post-Hinckley that make it doubly hard for mentally ill defendants to win, Clark argues.
The last time the high court visited mens rea, however, it rejected voluntary intoxication as a rebuttal from a murder defendant who argued he couldn't form intent because he got so drunk that he blacked out before shooting two people. Montana v. Egelhoff, 518 U.S. 37 (1996). The strong policy considerations behind the decision speak for themselves.
But while the defendant in Egelhoff drank himself into a blackout, Eric Clark didn't choose schizophrenia. The disease chose him.
"Those same policy arguments don't apply if you have a mental illness over which you have no control," says Richard J. Bonnie, director of the University of Virginia Institute of Law, Psychiatry and Public Policy. Bonnie consulted on an amicus brief supporting Clark filed by the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, and the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law.