March 12, 2010

Brian David Mitchell will pursue insanity defense

In the wake of last week's competency finding, a date of Nov. 1 has been set for Brian David Mitchell's federal trial in the kidnap-rape of Elizabeth Smart of Utah. The defense has indicated it plans to mount an insanity defense. As reported by the Associated Press today, a parallel case in state courts has stalled over the question of Mitchell's competency.

I'm still wading through Judge Kimball's 149-page ruling on competency, which I highly recommended to any of you who do competency work. In describing Mitchell as a cunning malingerer, the decision has plenty of implications for the insanity trial as well.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

From a strict legal point of view I thought the opinion was well written. I have a problem with the law in this area, however, because I think it violates the Confrontation Clause. I don't have a problem with the judge looking for evidence of malingering outside the official psychological setting. But when a good chunk of the evidence for malingering comes from the victim, who is hardly a neutral party, that's a problem for me.

I think the judge is following the law. I just see the law as bad law.