Saturday, December 01, 2007

My take on the New Hampshire hostage taker

A guy straps a fake bomb to his chest and says he wants to talk to Hillary Clinton about mental illness. It would seem that he has some first hand knowledge of the subject. He'll probably try to cop an insanity plea.
"Insane" is a legal term, not a psychological term. For an insanity plea to work, the defense must establish reasonable doubt regarding whether the defendant knew that taking hostages was wrong. One can be mentally ill without being insane.

Maybe the guy is insane, maybe he's faking it. I'm worried that if the jury buys his insanity plea in a high profile case such as this, it is going to inspire criminals to act bizarre in order to sell the plea.


Phil Marx said...


This guy attacks Hillary, then you attack him. I didn't realize you were so passionately pro-Hillary!

Templeton Peck said...


That's always been the fear with insantity pleas. I don't think you have to worry. An insantiy plea requires you admit that you did it and a lot of defendants are resistn to that. Juries are incredibly resistant to insantiy pleas and they're not the kind of odds you want to bet on. John Hinckley's convinction of guilty but insne did not lead to a rash of attempted presidential assasinations.