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NCJ Number: 78202 Find in a Library
Title: Burden of Proof for Extreme Emotional Disturbance and Insanity The Deterioration of Due Process
Journal: Temple Law Quarterly  Volume:52  Issue:1  Dated:(1979)  Pages:79-101
Author(s): J A Abramowitz
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 23
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This law review comment focuses on the affirmative defenses of extreme emotional disturbance and insanity, with emphasis on the Supreme Court's decisions on the rights of the accused and the role of due process in such situations.
Abstract: The Supreme Court, with it's recent decision in Paterson and its treatment of insanity cases in Leland and Rivera, has severely curtailed the expansion of due process guarantees of a defendant who asserts an affirmative defense of a crime. The Court has employed an elements approach which ignores the interests deemed vital to due process, as articulated in Mullaney and Winship, and allows technical distinctions to be made on the basis of the express wording used in the statutes. When the interests of society and the defendant are ignored, the burden of proof may be shifted simply by the characterization of mitigating factors as affirmative defenses rather than as elements of the crime. As a result, the fundamental notions of justice and due process, which form the basis of the American judicial system and are designed to protect the accused, are rendered meaningless. As an alternative, the interests approach could give substance to fear of erroneous convictions of the innocent. The Supreme Court should reverse its current trend and reinstate the wide scope of due process conceived in Winship and developed in Mullaney. A total of 177 footnotes are included. (Author abstract modified)
Index Term(s): Defense counsel; Insanity defense; Judicial decisions; Rights of the accused; US Supreme Court
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