Todd Long wins Insanity Case

Our client, a 57-year old Columbus area woman, received a Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity verdict last week acquitting her of Burglary and Theft in connection with a break-in and theft of personal property from her neighbor’s home. Our client was caught with the stolen goods in her possession, and she confessed to the crime. The insanity verdict was the culmination of a hard-fought battle about our client’s mental state at the time of the burglary. She now stands acquitted of all charges.

In 1990 the Ohio legislature amended Ohio’s insanity statute to make in much harder for persons accused of crimes to win a verdict of Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity.

Now, Section 2901.01(A)(14) of the Ohio Revised Code states: “A person is ‘not guilty by reason of insanity’ … only if the person proves … that at the time of the commission of the offense, the person did not know, as the result of a severe mental disease or defect, the wrongfulness of the person’s acts.”

As a result of this change, in order to win a Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity verdict, an accused person must prove (1) that at the time of the offense he or she suffered from a severe mental disease or defect, and (2) that as a result of the severe disease or mental defect the accused was unaware of the wrongfulness of his or her acts.

Prior to the 1990 amendments, a person qualified for an insanity defense if he or she suffered from a mental disease or defect (regardless of its severity) at the time of the offense. A person was not guilty by reason of insanity if, as a result of the mental disease or defect, he or she was either (1) unaware of the wrongfulness of his or her acts, or (2) could not refrain from committing the acts. This former test made it much easier for a mentally ill accused person to win a criminal case with an insanity defense.

Todd Long is one of only a few criminal defense attorneys in Columbus, Ohio to win a Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity verdict under the standards set forth in the current law.

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