Samples Law State v. Sexton: Diminished Capacity or Insanity

State v. Sexton: Diminished Capacity or Insanity

316 words 2 page(s)

If a defense lawyer in the State v. Sexton case, which involved the defendant killing a woman while under the influence of LSD, I would argue for diminished capacity rather than insanity. In this particular case, there is a legitimate argument for either; the defendant is believed to have had a schizophrenic episode triggered by the LSD, so there is a belief that a latent mental condition was triggered by using the drug.

However, there is also the diminished capacity defense which could effectively argue that the LSD affected his reasoning. The difference is that diminished capacity would result in a reduced sentence, while insanity could excuse the murder entirely (Brown, 2018). However, from a defense perspective, there are two key points: first, that the willful ingestion of illegal drugs precipitated the murder, and that the jury would need to be convinced of Sexton’s mental state.

Need A Unique Essay on "State v. Sexton: Diminished Capacity or Insanity"? Use Promo "custom20" And Get 20% Off!

Order Now

The main advantage of the diminished capacity defense is that it would be more plausible by the jury. Whether Sexton committed the murder is not in question; the question relates to his mental state. If the jury understands that a successful insanity defense would result in no prison time, and perhaps only some court-ordered counseling, it may be less likely to go with this defense because Sexton willingly ingested illegal drugs. Diminished capacity would reduce the sentencing or severity of charges, but it would still result in sentencing of some sort.

If Sexton’s psychotic episode was not caused by illegal drugs, an insanity defense would be more reasonable; in this case, because it was preceded by taking LSD, diminished capacity is the preferred defense strategy because it has a much higher chance of succeeding with a jury. This means Sexton will not have the option of the best possible outcome, which would be an acquittal for reason of insanity, but it would have a much higher degree of convincing the jury.