CHRIS’ CRIMINAL LAW COMMENTS: Defense of Insanity or Mental Infirmity

Attorney Chris Powell, Powell Law Scranton PAThere is even a rule prior to trial in the Rules of Criminal Procedure that the Defendant must give a notice of a defense of insanity or mental infirmity in conformance with Rule 568. A Defendant who intends to offer this type of defense at trial shall file with the Clerk no later than the time for filing his omnibus pretrial motions. The notice shall contain specific and available information as to the nature and extent of the alleged insanity or mental infirmity, the period of time the Defendant was suffering from such insanity and the names and addresses of witnesses, especially expert witnesses, whom the Defendant intends to call to establish this defense.

If the Defendant intends to offer an expert under Rule 841, the Defendant must have this expert relate the mental disease or defect or any mental conditions of the Defendant to the issue of guilt or in a capital case (murder) the issue of punishment. The defense shall file with the Court, again, no later than when pretrial motions are due.

Again, failure to file notice can have the defenses of insanity or mental infirmity excluded during the trial. If the Defendant omits a witness from the notice of insanity or mental infirmity or a notice of expert evidence of a mental condition, the Court may exclude the testimony of this witness. Therefore, you must be knowledgeable about the rules and the law applying to mental infirmity defenses. The Commonwealth shall have 10 days to file and serve a written notice of all Commonwealth witnesses they intend to call to disprove or discredit the Defendant’s claim of insanity.

If you require assistance, contact Powell Law at (570) 961-0777. The consultation is FREE and you don’t pay anything unless we win.

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