Easton Woodhead has been found not guilty of murder on the basis of mental impairment, but he did not walk free from the court.
Despite the many people with mental illness who go to prison, successful defences of mental impairment are rare. But this is not a 'get out of jail free' card and should be more accessible.
In this photo James Holmes and his defense attorney Daniel King sit in court for an advisement hearing at the Arapahoe County Justice Center, June 4 2013.
Jurors will likely be presented with conflicting notions of sanity and insanity. And they will be forced to confront widely held cultural assumptions about mental illness and violence.
The insanity defence is often an option of last resort rather than a lenient alternative to imprisonment.
What comes to mind when you hear or read about the “insanity defence”? Are the mental images of people who fake insanity to “get away with murder”? Your ideas might have been formed by films such as One…