- Published: November 28, 2012
The US Supreme Court recently decided they would not accept a case dealing with a defendant's rights to the insanity defense. This case of an Idaho man plagued with delusions from his schizophrenia which caused him to kill two of his friends would have merited the insanity defense in a state where it would be allowed. Idaho does not permit the use of the insanity defense. Instead of being placed in a treatment center, the man, John Delling, was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Some people have the idea that those pleading it "get off easy" by using the insanity defense and think it should be done away with. This attitude is not only ignorant, but it prevents defendants like Delling from receiving proper care in a setting where they won't be able to hurt others. Instead, they are shuffled into prisons that do not have adequate resources to care for the mentally ill.
As far as most of the United States is concerned, Delling would be an obvious candidate for the insanity defense. He suffered from severe delusions which led him to kill his two friends but at the time of the incident was unable "to appreciate that his conduct was wrong." Unfortuantely, the Supreme Court has not stepped in, so the injustice in Idaho will only continue.