SECTION 1 - COLQUITT
NOTE: This file provides the materials for a skit that will be performed by class members during our study of laws addressing mental diseases and defects - insanity and competency - in the context of criminal cases. Students will be assigned roles approximately one to two weeks before the pertinent class session.
The United States of Liberty is a relatively new country. It came into being on July 15, 2002. Unlike the United States of America, it has no state court systems. Instead, it has a national court system which hears all cases. The system is divided into departments: civil, criminal, domestic relations and juvenile. The highest court is the Supreme Court of Liberty.
The Parliament of Liberty has enacted some laws, but the country is so new that many matters have not been addressed. The Parliament has passed a general statute that permits the Supreme Court of Liberty to recognize "the law as generally and commonly established in either the United States of America or England as the Court determines best" unless there is a Liberty statute on point.
Bill Johnson is a 33-year-old welder. He was institutionalized at age 16 for mental problems. He was diagnosed as a schizophrenic, undifferentiated paranoid type. He remained in a mental institution for 3 years. He then was released to outpatient care, and has remained under such care through various agencies up to the present date. He is able to work, and is a skilled welder. He was married to Mary Johnson, and has two children. He belongs to a church, and works with a local program for underprivileged children.
On Independence Day, July 15, 2002, Bill was preparing to barbecue in his back yard. Mary and Bill engaged in an argument over Bill's selection of Fantasyterra sauce for the barbecue. During the argument, Bill became quite enraged and struck and severely injured Mary. She later died from her injuries.
Bill stands charged with murder pursuant to a national statute which provides that "A person commits the crime of murder if with the intent to cause the death of that person, he or she causes the death of that person or another person."
At arraignment on the charge of murder, Bill's attorneys entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity, to which the local prosecutor objected. The prosecutor moved to strike the plea on the basis that the plea has not been recognized as a defense by statute or by the national courts of Liberty. The trial judge struck the plea and entered a general plea of not guilty.
Defense counsel asked for leave to enter an interlocutory appeal to the Supreme Court of Liberty. The trial judge granted the request. The Supreme Court of Liberty has jurisdiction, and intends to hear the case. The Court is composed of a Chief Justice and four Associate Justices. Appellant's counsel will argue the case on behalf of their client. Two Assistant Attorneys-General of Liberty, will argue the case for the government.
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