Is insanity a defense for acquittal?

Discussion in 'Free-For-All Archives' started by freeatlast, Apr 3, 2004.

  1. freeatlast

    freeatlast
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    In most, if not all states, there is law that allows for insanity defense in serious felony cases. As a Christian do you feel that a person can be found not guilty because of claimed mental conditions or should they always have to be held accountable for their crimes? Please explain your response in light if scripture. If not some passage that directly deals with this then at least some that show that your belief is God's directing. In other words based on scripture evidence God would find them innocent by way of insanity and so would you.
     
  2. Joseph_Botwinick

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    I can't really think of any scripture that deals with this issue at all as far as whether the Mentally handicapped are responsible for their actions, therefore I don't think I could intelligently speak to this issue from a scriptural point of view. I can, however, give you my opinion, and that is all it is. I think they should be found guilty and be held responsible for their crimes regardless of mental condition. That is my opinion.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  3. BobRyan

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    If someone suffers from a serious mental condition such that they are incapable of controlling themselves and fully capable of murder -- they should be locked up in a safe area where it is not possible for them to find a victim.

    If they are out on the loose then whoever is responsible for evaluating their condition should have them locked up.

    If a person claims "temporary insanity" and the conditions are such that they "could be temporarily insane next month like they were two years ago" then they should be locked up as well. When it is determined that they are no longer subject to going temporarily insane - then let them out.

    I agree that if you are not in control of your mind you can't be held responsible in the same way that others are. But if you "choose" to do drugs or choose to drink - THEN get behind the wheel of a car -- you are responsible 'anyway'. In the same way - if the person is engaging in activity that "makes them lose control" they are repsonsible for the damage done while "not in control".

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  4. computerjunkie

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    There is a case in East Texas right now. A mother is accused of bludgeoning her two sons, ages 8 and 6, to death (beat them on their heads with a rock), and permanently disabling her 14 month old son. This happened last Mother's Day. She said "God told her to do it".

    I haven't seen reports of previous mental illness or if she was on medication for same, but I might have missed it.

    The trial has been this week, and it was just announced that the jury has returned a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity. For this kind of verdict in Texas, the defense has to prove she was so mentally incapacitated at the time, she had no concept of right and wrong.

    She will most likely be locked up for the rest of her life, even though 2 of her children are dead and one is permanently brain damaged. My heart is broken for her precious little boys.

    Does scripture address this? Exodus 20:13 says, "You shall not murder". That's it...4 words with no stipulations.

    CJ
     
  5. Joseph_Botwinick

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    That lady better feel eternally grateful I wasn't on the jury.

    Joseph Botwinick

    [edited to tone down my own anger]
     
  6. dianetavegia

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    I agree C.J. and Joseph! No excuses!

    Diane
     
  7. computerjunkie

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    Here's the update from Dallas Morning News:

    Mother acquitted in sons' stoning deaths
    07:37 PM CST on Saturday, April 3, 2004

    Associated Press

    Personally, I believe she SHOULD be held legally accountable for this. She killed her precious, innocent children, for crying out loud, with apparently no sense of remorse. Of course, I know GOD will hold her accountable some day.

    I'm with you, Joseph...she should be glad I wasn't on the jury either.

    Sorry for the rant...this has been all over the news this week, the verdict has just come in this evening and I am heart broken.

    CJ
     
  8. dianetavegia

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    Any woman that plans out the murder, chooses the weapon and then dials 911 knew what she was doing! Me too, C.J.

    Diane
     
  9. Melanie

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    We had a young man in our state who was aquitted of the slaying of his girlfriend by reason of insanity,

    He was held in an institution for the crimnally insane but escape with the aid of his parents.He is schizophrenic and pretty weird by all accounts but he killed a human being. He should be out of contact with the public for the rest of his life and his parents should be convicted of aiding and abetting a murderer.

    Bottom line, murder deserves more than a rap on the knuckles even if insane.
     
  10. freeatlast

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    For me it is a difficult question. I usually get accused of being hard hearted, but that comes from standing on the word I believe. Even so I am aware of the Lord's compassion and mercy and I want to be sure that I have the same as He. I do believe that IF there is really such a thing where a person loses their mind and it is absolutely no fault of their own then they need to be shown mercy and not prosecuted, but rather treated. However at this point I am not convinced that such ever happenes. Even in the case of Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel who went mad and ate grass like a cow held responsibility for his condition. I think at this point that what happens is that we open ourselves up to mental conditions because of actions or lifestyles we choose when we are sane and those actions can cause our mentality to degrade until we do things that are just wierd or heinous and in that case we are still responsible.

    It is a tough question and not one that I just stiffin my neck and do not weigh. I have had personal experience with it in that my mother was brutally murdered by an angry husband. That is not why I asked the question, but I do know thta our anger, or radical religious beliefs can bring us to certain serious actions and at this point I am not convinced that a person can just go nuts without some personal involvement to cause it, but as i said i want to be open if there is any scripture evidence to suggest that we are to show mercy in such cases.
     
  11. freeatlast

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    The question was posed because I feel that many who claim to be Christian have not thought this through. First it is a very heart moving thing to see someone do a serious crime and then seem so out of it that they do not know what they did and claim insanity. We are faced as Christians with the obligation to carry out justice under our legal system (which is seldom) and also showing the loving hand of God in His mercy. Getting the two done without denying one is sometimes difficult.

    While I have not so closed the door to listen to other views I do hold one. However since this is such a serious thing I feel it needs the thoughts of others. I personally feel that if a person is not able to understand what they are doing then they need mercy, not judgment. We allot this to children who are so young that and they do things not understanding the end results or consequences and we teach God's mercy for these who are not accountable. I see no difference for an adult IF we can ascertain that they fell victim to things mentally and themselves were not the cause of those problems.

    We really have no real scriptures to look to for suggesting that the person who is claiming insanity is to be set free or dealt with as someone sick and given medical attention. We do have the understanding of God's mercy however. The problem is how and when to apply it. Also does that mercy mean that the person is set free by a jury or is the showing of mercy only for the one who was sinned against to levy and not a judicial jury verdict? Also is the mercy just for the purpose of spiritual needs (salvation). Or is mercy to carry over into the judicial system? So you see there are lots of questions, and these are but a few,that need to be dealt with.

    In scripture we have the account of the woman taken in adultery. The Lord forgives her. However if we read the text carefully she was not pardoned in the judicial by the Lord. He actually told those who brought her to stone her. Read it. That is what He said. They just did not do it because of self condemnation.

    Also we have David who set things in such a way that Uriah was killed in battle after David had an affair with his wife. God did forgive him according to scripture, but He also pronounced judgment on him for this life so we see both mercy and judgment. While I am not suggesting that the woman or David were insane there are certain things that we do in times of passion were we might claim such.

    Then we also have scripture that says this;
    1Cr 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God [is] faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear [it].

    If this be the case then no one has ever done anything because they were overcome. That means no insanity can be used to excuse our actions. We have to take full responsibility for what we do as well as the consequences.

    With all this it becomes a difficult question if we are wrestling with both justice and mercy. I do however hold some beliefs on the matter. First I do believe that a person can have mental issues that cause them to do things that they would not do if normal. I believe that it can get so bad that one could say that they no longer understood what they were doing as being good or evil. I do not question the claims that the woman here in TX who murdered her children by stoning them(one survived I think)really believed that God was telling her to do this and she meets the legal conditions of insanity. However I believe that any person who gets into this condition does so because of their own sin. In her case I believe tat she decided what to believe about God rather then believe what scripture teaches.

    We have an example of this in scripture. In Daniel we see how Nebuchadnezzar became insane and started eating grass like a cow. However the reason for it was his own doings so I believe that he was responsible for his condition mentally ill or not. Today I believe that every person who finds themselves in need of mental counseling holds the same responsibility for their condition. We cause it ourselves. Some have been sinned against and have mental problems because of it. Even if they do not hold any responsibility for being sinned against they do have an obligation to forgive and the unforgiveness can cause mental illness and does. So they in a sense are responsible for their illness. Also there are those of us who do sins and cannot forgive ourselves. Most mental hospitals are full of people like this. We just will not accept that we can be forgiven and we punish ourselves and cause mental illness. Again we hold the responsibility for the sin and the illness because we are told we can be forgiven but we will not believe.

    So with all this I believe at this point that our actions, even though they may happen while in a mental condition are OUR actions and we need to be held accountable just like if we had no insanity defense. The mercy can be the willingness to share God's love for spiritual healing after the verdict, but not in the verdict
     
  12. Joseph_Botwinick

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    Free,

    This is a quote from me in another forum on this board on the same topic:

    When will her two sons be released...oh yeah...I forgot...they're DEAD!!!!!!!!!!!

    They were given the ultimate punishment while we feel sorry for the murderer. Shame on this jury.

    Joseph Botwinick
    [/QUOTE]

    http://www.baptistboard.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php/topic/1/1757.html#000010

    The Apostle Paul also speaks about the government being God's agent of wrath for the evildoers. I think it is in the book of Romans.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  13. Brett

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    How is it possible to know that there is no such thing as mental illness?

    The mind is a manifestation of the brain, and the brain is a physical organ like any other. The heart can fail, the kidney can fail. So can the brain. I'm not saying that the verdicts were necessarily right or wrong in these cases, but it is foolish to dismiss all cases of mental illness.
     
  14. Joseph_Botwinick

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    Mental illness or not, two children were brutally murdered. IOW, I don't care if the woman were possessed by satan himself and he forced her to do it (boy, wouldn't that be a convenient defense), she is the one responsible for her actions. She did it. She should be punished. There you go.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  15. Gina B

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    Nobody who would murder any human being in cold blood is mentally stable.
    It doesn't mean that they should get away with it.
    It's also interesting how they felt the need to bring up that she homeschooled. When a mother murders a publically schooled child (which happens much more frequently) I've not ever seen the news point out that fact that they were schooled in a government institution.
    Gina
     
  16. dianetavegia

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    I disagree Gina. I think a lot of people are just so full of satan and his lies that they kill out of selfishness and other reasons. Look at abortionist, women who have abortions and the nurses who assist! Certainly they murder in cold blood.

    Diane
     
  17. Abiyah

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    I would be one the defense would not have wanted on the jury. I am not a proponent of capital punishment, unless there is a murder AND two or more witnesses. In this case, there were two witnesses, minimally (I have not read everything on this case) -- the woman who admitted she had done it, her husband, and likely DNA.

    The Bible does not say that a murderer with two or more witnesses should be put in prison for murders, it says that they should get capital punishment. Two little innocent boys died, one is permanently disabled, and bluntly, the lady should die for what she did.

    I do not believe people who claim "temporary insanity" -- period. That is the most ridiculous "defense" every thought up for the weak American legal system. Oddly, the Bible also does not use this as a defense; rather, it clearly says that every person is responsible for their sins, whether intentional or unintentional, even to the point that if we do not know we have sinned, we are responsible.

    I realize that there are people born without consciences, but they are rare. Far more are born with consciences that are completely expunged by either their parents or themselves.

    The rest of us have consciences: some of us live by them, and some of us kill them or keep them in a constant ill and fevered state. These are choices, and we will all pay for those choices, whether they are positive payments or negative.
     
  18. Dan Todd

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    Gina said:
    I agree with that statement.

    I once heard that the verdict should be - Guilty - but insane, not innocent by reason of insanity.

    Too many people play the insanity card to escape the harsh consequences of their actions.
     
  19. Gina B

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    Exactly Dan!
    [​IMG]
    Gina
     

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