It is important to have someone help you defend yourself if you’re accused of a crime. Why? Your attorney can help you protect your rights.
Imagine being in your home and not knowing what your name is, where you are or what you’re doing. Maybe the trees look like snakes or your well-known neighbor is suddenly a spy for another country. In your mind, the world is against you, so you have to take a stand. You defend yourself and what you think is right. Then, days later, treated with the right medications, you come out of an episode of schizophrenia.
That can happen easily to people who don’t realize they have the disorder and even to those who are treated for it. Should they be held accountable for their actions during an episode? Is it fair to say they intended to kill or maim others?
Without the ability to make decisions, those individuals can’t be held accountable in most cases. Take for example this case involving a man who killed another in Rhode Island. The man, a 36-year-old from West Greenwich, attacked a 62-year-old man. He had walked naked onto the man’s property before beating the man to death. The 62-year-old man called 911 but did not escape; the call did record the audio of the attack.
One witness was able to testify that the 36-year-old man had been talking about government cover-ups and aliens hours before the attack. An expert brought in for the case stated that the man had paranoid schizophrenia and needs medical help. As a result, the courts found him not guilty by reason of insanity and have decided to send him to a state hospital.
Source: US News, “Rhode Island Man Not Guilty of Murder by Reason of Insanity,” Aug. 2, 2017