CJA 354 Week 2 Team Assignment Insanity Defense Paper
CJA 354 Week 2 Team Assignment Insanity Defense Paper
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Date Created: 11/06/15
Running head: INSANITY DEFENSE PAPER 1 Insanity Defense Paper CJA354 INSANITY DEFENSE PAPER 2 Insanity Defense Paper th On the night of October 18 , Uma Opee was stabbed thirteen times and bled to death at approximately 11:45p.m. Cuts and bruises were found on her body and skin particles were found under her fingernails suggesting that a struggle had occurred prior to her death. Stu Dents is being accused of this brutal attack ending in murder stemming from two eyewitnesses that saw the defendant walk into the victim’s apartment on the afternoon of the murder. (State v. Stu Dents, UOP material, 2012) Police searched the defendant’s home to find jewelry owned by the victim including a ring that was worn by Opee on a daily basis. Over 300 photos of the victim were found stapled onto the defendant’s wall, some of which were apparently taken without her knowledge. In addition, love letters to Opee and a journal were found in the defendant’s apartment. The journal had Dents’ name inside the front cover and detailed events from meetings with the victim from the day they met, six months prior to the incident, up to the night before the fatal stabbing. Finally, various drugs were found in the defendant’s home, including ecstasy pills with a “thumbs up” imprint which matched an ecstasy pill that was found at the victim’s home on the day her body was found. (State v. Stu Dents, UOP material, 2012) We believe that the defendant, Stu Dents, is completely competent to stand trial. Not only do we feel that Dents is responsible for the murder, we plan to prove that he was well aware that his actions were morally wrong, illegal, and understood the consequences that went along with his actions. We do not feel that the voluntary use of drugs has any impact on the state of INSANITY DEFENSE PAPER 3 mind of the defendant and we do not necessarily know that Dents had even used any drugs on the night of the stabbing. Although Dents believed that aliens had been stalking him and the world was coming to an end, as stated in his journal, the defendant still had a moral sense of right and wrong. He also clearly understands that his actions were illegal in any state in the United States. This is proven by two facts. The first fact is that the victim’s body was found about five miles from her residence. She was bound and gagged, cloth stuffed in her mouth with her arms and legs tied up. If the defendant was not doing anything morally wrong or illegal, why wouldn’t he simply carry out the act and leave the body at the victim’s home? If he was innocent of any wrongdoing or not aware of the consequences, why would he stop the victim from making noise with a gag? Surely, if his actions were proper in his mind, it wouldn’t matter if someone else heard. The issue of drug use is brought up as a possible reason for these actions but the question is, were the drugs even used by the defendant? Perhaps the defendant was simply selling the drugs. Even if he was using the drugs, he would be using a mindaltering substance voluntarily which does not exclude Dents from criminal responsibility. The only thing we know from the drugs is that Dents is tied to the location of the murder because of a matching imprint on ecstasy pills. Although each of our team members are in different states and the report does not mention in which state this crime took place, a defendant generally carries the responsibility of clearly and convincingly proving that he does not have the mental capacity to form a mens rea. This must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt by using testimony from a doctor, physician, or other mental health professional. (Champion, 2009) At this point, the defendant has not proven INSANITY DEFENSE PAPER 4 this and we believe is perfectly capable of standing trial. He clearly planned and executed this act based on calculated steps and clearly every element of a crime is present. The mens rea is clear, based on the journal entries and the actus reus is present, obviously because of the eyewitness statements and the evidence tying Dents to the scene of the crime, including DNA evidence on the victim that matches Dents. We strongly suggest that Mr. Dents is perfectly capable of standing trial for the murder of Uma Opee. (Smalleger, 2010) INSANITY DEFENSE PAPER 5 REFERENCES Aggresive Criminal Defense Michigan Criminal Defense Attorneys. (2012). Various Defenses to Crime. Retrieved from http://aggresivecriminaldefense.com/Practice Areas/DefensestoCrime.html Champion, D. J. (2009). Leading U.S. Supreme Court cases in criminal justice: Briefs and key terms. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education. "Insanity Defense." Encyclopedia of Everyday Law. Ed. Shirelle Phelps. Gale Cengage, 2003. eNotes.com. 9 Jul, 2012 <http://www.enotes.com/criminallawreference/> Schmalleger, F., Hall, D. E., & Dolatowski, J.J. (2010). Criminal law today. (4th ed.) Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. State v. Stu Dents, UOP material, 2012
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