Also called emotional illness, mental disease, mental disorder." The National Alliance on Mental Illness describes mental illness in the following way: Mental illnesses are medical conditions that disrupt a person's thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning.
Serious mental illnesses include major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and borderline personality disorder.
Both Kentucky and North Carolina considered legislation to bar the execution of a defendant who "had a severe mental disorder or disability that significantly impaired his or her capacity to appreciate the nature, consequences, or wrongfulness of his or her conduct, exercise rational judgment in relation to conduct, or conform his or her conduct to the requirements of the law." (Kentucky HB 446, 2009 Regular Session) (North Carolina's HB 553/SB 1075 uses almost identical language to define mental illness.) The wording used here comes directly from the American Bar Association's Resolution 122A.
Taslitz, special issue editor, introduces the magazine’s symposium topic on mental illness and the justice system, including highlights of each article. Slobogin, "The Supreme Court’s Recent Criminal Mental Health Cases Rulings of Questionable Competence" For decades the subject of mental illness and criminal law languished in the legal “backwaters” at the U. United States (a defendant’s right to refuse medication), followed quickly by two more seminal decisions in Clark v.Arizona (2006) (the scope of psychiatric defenses) and Panetti v.Brannan's attorneys asked the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles to grant clemency because Brannan suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and bipolar disorder.A police video from the crime scene illustrated Brannan's erratic behavior.He maps the defendant’s journey from intake through assessment and treatment to “graduation” from the program. Mello, "Executing the Mentally Ill: When Is Someone Sane Enough to Die? Mello presents this personal account of advocating for mentally ill death row inmates. Article following the execution of Charles Singleton in Arkansas. Mansnerus, "Damaged Brains and the Death Penalty," (New York Times, July 21, 2001). Connecticut exempts a capital defendant from execution if his “mental capacity was significantly impaired or [his] ability to conform [his] conduct to the requirements of law was significantly impaired but not so impaired in either case as to constitute a defense to prosecution[.]” (General Statute § 53a-46a (h)(3) (2009)).
While detailing his clients’ descent into madness and the tortured disconnect between the fantasy world of the insane and a justice system bent on accountability, the author looks at the impact of three high-profile cases. UPDATE: Connecticut abolished the death penalty for future offenses in 2012.
He was 74, suffered from dementia, had an IQ of 71, was missing a significant part of his brain due to an accident.
His attorneys insisted he should be spared because he did not understand the punishment to be carried out.
The author argues to the contrary and details where and how the Court has erred. More recently, though, they find themselves as “diversionary gatekeepers”— seeking alternatives to trials and prison for those who more aptly belong in the medical arena. Malone, "Cruel and Inhumane: Executing the Mentally Ill," (Amnesty International Magazine, Fall 2005). (Catholic University Law Review, Summer 2005) (not available free online) M. D., "Maternal Infanticide Associated With mental Illness: Prevention and the Promise of Saved Lives" (American Journal of Psychiatry Digest, September 2004). Parsons, "Untreated Mental Illness Can Be Criminal" - Article covering a defendant's capital case (Los Angeles Times, November 3, 2003). Swedlow, "Forced Medication of Legally Incompetent Prisoners: A Primer" (Human Rights Magazine, Spring 2003) K.
The author, a Cook County ( Illinois) state’s attorney, finds neither role satisfactory and argues for reforms that will limit a prosecutor’s responsibility for addressing a defendant’s mental health needs through the justice system. D’Emic, "The Promise of Mental Health Courts: Brooklyn Criminal Justice System Experiments with Treatment as an Alternative to Prison" Judge D’Emic tracks the establishment of one of the country’s first courts to use diversionary treatment in dealing with mentally ill criminal defendants. Leo, "Mental Health Status and Vulnerability to Police Interrogation Tactics" The authors offers a psychological explanation of how police interrogation methods affect the “average” person’s ability to understand and exert his or her Miranda rights and what makes the mentally ill so much more susceptible to police coercion and likely to falsely confess. Drew, "Executed Mentally Ill Inmate Heard Voices Until End," (CNN, January 7, 2003). Miller, "Executing the Mentally Ill," book available from Sage Publications (1993).
Eleven inmates remained under the sentence of death.