SECTION 1 - COLQUITT
[See Parsons v. State, 81 Ala. 577, 2 So. 854 (1887)]
One of the pleas of the defendant to the indictment in this case is the special statutory plea of "not guilty by reason of insanity." Under our law the question of the irresponsibility of a person for criminal action can be triable only under a special plea of insanity interposed at the time of the arraignment of the defendant. The defense of insanity must be specially pleaded, as it is pleaded in this case, because the plea of the general issue, "not guilty," does not put in issue the question of the irresponsibility of the accused by reason of the alleged insanity, and without this special plea the defendant could not offer evidence on the question of insanity. The purpose of the statute has been said to be to separate as far as possible the two defenses, not guilty, and not guilty by reason of insanity, and to have the proof directed to each of the two defenses, and the verdict to respond to each of such defenses.
Reason being the common gift of God to every man, every man is presumed to be sane, that is, of natural and normal mental condition. I instruct you that under the laws of Alabama every person over fourteen years of age charged with crime is presumed to be responsible for his acts.
Now, the burden of proving that he is irresponsible is cast upon the accused, and under the law he has the burden of clearly proving to the reasonable satisfaction of the jury his defense of insanity.
LEGAL TEST OF RESPONSIBILITY
The proper legal rule of responsibility in criminal case is well settled in Alabama. One who is so insane as to be incapable of entertaining a criminal intent cannot be guilty of crime or held criminally responsible for his acts. The legal test by which one's responsibility for crime is judged is as follows: (1) Where there is no capacity to distinguish between right and wrong as applied to the particular act, there is no legal responsibility; (2) Where there is such capacity, a defendant nevertheless is not legally responsible if, by reason of the duress of mental disease, he has so far lost the power to choose between right and wrong as not to avoid doing the act in question, so that his free agency was at the time destroyed, and, at the same time, the alleged crime was so connected with such mental disease in the relation of cause and effect, as to have been the product or offspring of it solely. These are the tests by which you are to be guided in considering the special plea of not guilty by reason of insanity.
Therefore the TEST OF INSANITY is: (1) Was the Defendant at the time of the commission of the crime, as a matter of fact, afflicted with a disease of the mind, so as to be either idiotic or otherwise insane? (2) If such be the case, did he know right from wrong, as applied to the particular act in question? If he did not have such knowledge, he is not legally responsible. (3) If he did have such knowledge, he may nevertheless not be legally responsible if the two following conditions concur: (a) If, by reason of the duress of such mental disease, he so far lost the power to choose between right and wrong, and to avoid doing the act, or (b) that his free agency was at the time destroyed; provided that at the same time, the alleged crime was so connected with such mental disease, in the relation of cause and effect, as to have been the product of it solely.
THE BURDEN OF PROOF
The rules in criminal cases place on the State the burden of proving every element of the crime charged against a defendant, and require that in order to convict the jury must be satisfied of the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt and to a moral certainty. Since intent is one of the elements that the State must prove in murder and first degree manslaughter, and since there can be no intent if the accused is not sane, it follows that where a defendant in a homicide case sets up a plea of insanity, and the jury have a reasonable doubt on the question, they could not find him guilty of murder or manslaughter in the first degree. However, insanity would not be a defense to the charge of manslaughter in the second degree which is included in the indictment.
If, from all of the evidence in this case, you are reasonably satisfied that the defendant was insane, as has been defined to you, then it is your duty to render a special verdict that the defendant is not guilty by reason of insanity. In this event the form of your verdict would be: "We, the jury, find the defendant not guilty by reason of insanity."
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