May 23, 2017

THE INSANITY DEFENSE

comeyjames_070716getty“did not know what he did and if he did know it,

 he did not know that what he was doing was wrong.”

Part of the M’Naghten insanity defense rule.

 

In his initial statement today in a congressional committee hearing to explain the reasons he concluded that Secretary Hillary Clinton did not merit prosecution even when evidence of gross negligence was obvious, Mr. James Comey, FBI Director, explained in a very understandable way why. Mr. Comey said that the article 18 passed as law in 1917 that does not require “intent” was not usually used by the Justice Department prosecutors, because it constituted a felony with potential incarceration, making many times that the penalty could not correspond to the crime. He cited only one case when in almost a hundred years it was used, one of treason. He then used the evaluation of Ms. Clinton’s case requiring two factors, one that a person had committed a crime and second that they knew it was one.

That was my layman understanding. In his own words he explains “did they know that they were doing something that was unlawful?”, “if they knew they were doing something that they should not do”, or “you can prove that they knew they were doing something wrong”. He concludes they did not and thus no reason to prosecute.

My first thought was, this is very interesting the reasoning that intent was not found was based of ignorance in the actions of our Secretary of State and her most trusted aides. Pressed further, he admitted that most of the actions he discovered should be within the definition of “intent”, but went back to the idea that they did not know, using words of not enough “sophistication” on what should have been common knowledge as what constitutes classified or if a document marked (C), meant classified. Using my psychiatric knowledge, I thought “that is part of the insanity defense for the intellectually incapacitated!”.

Sure enough it is very clear as copied above that it is an element of the MNaughten rule the first, and still used, insanity defense argument. Since it is obvious that politics are going to intervene because of the upcoming presidential elections and Ms. Clinton is a candidate that claims her knowledge and experience her most favorable asset, I wonder whether the reason she was not charged for a crime is worse for her aspirations than the crime itself.

Director Comey also made very clear that he was making a recommendation exclusively on criminal charges but that her behavior did warrant a thorough investigation by the State Department and possible penalties could be warranted. My opinion should not be construed as my believing that Ms. Clinton is insane, or that Comey thought so. Only that I am unable to find any legal excuse for a crime committed based on incompetence, stupidity, or ignorance. I only ask from the partisans on both sides to please leave their allegiance behind and look, as I did, at the factual information before arriving at a conclusion.

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