Legal question re Expert Witness

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  • #16
    Re: Legal question re Expert Witness

    Originally posted by LolaMoon View Post
    ..they wouldn't let a murderer loose if evidence was withheld. He/She would simply be granted a new trial.
    Huh?

    That makes no sense - it directly contradicts the whole point of double jeopardy.

    The person being charged isn't obliged to produce lots of evidence against himself (or herself).

    The prosecution can't get a retrial on someone who was found not-guilty just because they've worked a bit harder this time and found some extra evidence they didn't locate the first time.

    Mac
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    • #17
      Re: Legal question re Expert Witness

      Mac is correct; I agree that would be double jeopardy, and the defendant would not receive a new trial, which are granted for reasons other than lies, or prosecutor failures to have proved sanity. Lola Moon is also correct; the defendant is not unlike many insane patients in proclaiming saneness once hospitalized. The burden would be on the defendant, now patient, to prove sanity and that would require a minimum of a year (under state laws that require institutionalization after not guilty by reason of insanity). The statistics are correct too: defendants languish in mental hospitals longer than they would have served in prisons after successful insanity defenses. Think Randall McMurphy (insanity claim) in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. We'd all go crazy eventually being there; the 'specialists' in charge all look like Nurse Ratchet.

      I can envision a scenario where I was insane at the time of the murder - somebody drugged me at a party (the butler soon confessed) and I killed the host thinking him the devil, with many witnesses, but at the time of the trial I am completely sane and remember none of it. The charge would likely be reduced or dropped, unless the prosecution wants to win at all costs (usually), but if the case goes to the jury and I am found not guilty of the murder by reason of insanity, I imagine the court has some latitude to free me. If the court commits me, I might never get out.

      In those cases where I was sane at the time of the murder, but now found to be crazy and unable to aid in my own defense, the trial is postponed until I am sane enough to understand the charge against me; I am sent to the asylum until then. If the case ever gets tried, and I am found guilty, I would be transferred to prison. Those cases rarely go to trial because it is extraordinarily difficult to regain sanity in a mental institution; they are holding tanks, not rehabilitative centers.

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      • #18
        Re: Legal question re Expert Witness

        Originally posted by Mac H. View Post
        What would happen if the moment the murderer entered the asylum they admitted that they were perfectly fine and were just faking it?
        I know this is an old thread, but I just came across a nice real-world example of an answer to this question:

        http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011...t-a-psychopath

        An excerpt:

        "After they arrested me, I sat in my cell and I thought, 'I'm looking at five to seven years.' So I asked the other prisoners what to do. They said, 'Easy! Tell them you're mad! They'll put you in a county hospital. You'll have Sky TV and a PlayStation. Nurses will bring you pizzas.'"

        "How long ago was this?" I asked.

        "Twelve years ago," Tony said.
        ...

        The next day I wrote to Professor Anthony Maden, the head clinician at Tony's unit at Broadmoor - "I'm contacting you in the hope that you may be able to shed some light on how true Tony's story might be.

        A week passed and then the email I had been waiting for arrived from Professor Maden.

        "Tony," it read, "did get here by faking mental illness because he thought it would be preferable to prison."
        So the clinic knew that he was faking a mental illness ... and they still kept him in for 12 years.

        (It's a bit more interesting & complex than that - see the whole article for more info)

        Fascinating,

        Mac
        New blogposts:
        *Followup - Seeking Investors in all the wrong places
        *Preselling your film - Learning from the Experts
        *Getting your indie film onto iTunes
        *Case Study - Estimating Film profits

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        • #19
          Re: Legal question re Expert Witness

          Looking forward to reading the article. Thanks for posting it, Mac. A quick thought occurs: after five to seven years in a mental institution, I don't think anyone could function well enough to be released. The twelve years support statistics that say time spent in a mental institution for a crime versus a prison is a longer sentence. After time served in prison, you're done. You don't leave the mental institution unless you can establish you're sane no matter how long you've been there.

          Edit: Just read this fascinating article. Thanks, again, for posting it.
          Last edited by Scriptonian; 05-22-2011, 03:36 PM.

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          • #20
            Re: Legal question re Expert Witness

            i'm not going thru this thread (don't really know what it's about) but... one flew over the cuckoo's nest. they pretty much knew he was faking it (it's in the script and played down in the movie) and kept him there anyway.

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            • #21
              Re: Legal question re Expert Witness

              Scriptonian - are you an attorney or law enforcement? Most people are quick to offer advice about the law but have no clue what they are talking about. You clearly do know what you are talking about, much more so than I would expect from a person without a legal background.

              MacH - great article and great share.

              Originally posted by NikeeGoddess View Post
              i'm not going thru this thread (don't really know what it's about) but... one flew over the cuckoo's nest. they pretty much knew he was faking it (it's in the script and played down in the movie) and kept him there anyway.
              So you haven't read the thread, you don't know what it's about, but you are going to post something irrelevant here anyway... because why? Are you having an "I need attention" moment?

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              • #22
                Re: Legal question re Expert Witness

                sbbn,

                I am a retired lawyer whose career was in state government directing quasi-judicial law enforcement agencies (human rights, child protection, labor laws).
                Earlier worked as contracts negotiator in defense industry; enjoy contracts law.

                Anything I post is offered as general information, and as correct as I know or believe it to be. It cannot and should never be considered legal advice as the law is always changing, and it varies by jurisdiction. Law is fun to talk/write about.

                annie
                Last edited by Scriptonian; 05-25-2011, 10:15 AM. Reason: additional thought

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                • #23
                  Re: Legal question re Expert Witness

                  Ha! I love the legal disclaimer! Reminds me of how every conversation I have with a family member begins after they ask me about some legal issue. All the pieces fit, now that I know a bit about your background. I mean, something like "mens rea" isn't part of the ordinary learning a person just picks up as part of living life. Nice to meet another attorney, particularly one with a shared background in government work.

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                  • #24
                    Re: Legal question re Expert Witness

                    sbbn, your posts are always interesting. Had I been smart many years ago (pay attention now), I might have gone with the top Washington/NY firms as did a brother-in-law: early on a specialist in FCC (representing big newspapers, TV networks, cable), senior partner after 20 years, and $13-15 Million a year since.

                    Aw... no regrets here though. Public service has its own rewards.
                    Thanks for the welcome.

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Re: Legal question re Expert Witness

                      Originally posted by sbbn View Post
                      So you haven't read the thread, you don't know what it's about, but you are going to post something irrelevant here anyway... because why? Are you having an "I need attention" moment?
                      i wouldn't say it was irrelevant b/c it's an actual example from a script and this is a screenwriting (not a legal) board. some movies use artist license to make their stories work.
                      you however have offered nothing to the OP's question... not that there's anything wrong with that. many posts on this board serve no purpose.

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Re: Legal question re Expert Witness

                        Originally posted by NikeeGoddess View Post
                        i wouldn't say it was irrelevant b/c it's an actual example from a script and this is a screenwriting (not a legal) board. some movies use artist license to make their stories work.
                        you however have offered nothing to the OP's question... not that there's anything wrong with that. many posts on this board serve no purpose.
                        I admit, I find your posts incredibly amusing . I think it's funny it is you outright admit you have no idea what this thread is about ("don't really know what it's about") but... you're going to add "a" comment to whatever the hell this thread is about anyway.

                        You are correct this is a screenwriting board but this is a research section and the question raised is a legal one. So it follows that a legal answer to a legal question would probably be most relevant.

                        Speaking of relevant or "offering" somthing to the OP's question maybe you should check and see what the question was before you comment on your own relevance. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest doesn't have anything to do with the question of whether a court can call an expert witness during a trial. In FACT, the movie doesn't even have a courtroom scene involving experts. If I remember correctly it doesn't even any type of courtroom scene. Your example has NOTHING to do with the OP's question. Simply throwing out a movie title doesn't make it automatically relevant. If it did then here's what makes this post relevant: Batman. BATMAN, BATMAN, BATMAN, BATMAAAAAAAAANNN!

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                        • #27
                          Re: Legal question re Expert Witness

                          since you're so dead set about following people around and correcting them i went back to check why the fuss. so actually, i was responding to this specific comment:
                          "Tony," it read, "did get here by faking mental illness because he thought it would be preferable to prison."
                          So the clinic knew that he was faking a mental illness ... and they still kept him in for 12 years.

                          (It's a bit more interesting & complex than that - see the whole article for more info)

                          Fascinating,

                          Mac
                          and i believe i clarified that it was in the sceenplay (since most of here are writers), not the movie... that they were pretty sure jack was faking it to get out of hard labor detail.

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Re: Legal question re Expert Witness

                            Originally posted by NikeeGoddess View Post
                            since you're so dead set about following people around and correcting them...
                            Have I been following you around? You should feel lucky then! I don't actually look to see who I'm responding to, except in rare instances. I do tend to favor responding to postings of complete legal garbage but that's just because of my background. I hope this doesn't offend you but I don't know who you are and couldn't tell you off the top of my head if I've ever posted a response to you before. But that's no different from anyone else - I don't keep track of who posts what on these boards.

                            Originally posted by NikeeGoddess View Post
                            i went back to check why the fuss. so actually, i was responding to this specific comment...
                            and i believe i clarified that it was in the sceenplay (since most of here are writers), not the movie... that they were pretty sure jack was faking it to get out of hard labor detail.
                            No dispute there - I wasn't challenging anything you said about the movie or the screenplay or the difference between the two (honestly, none of that matters to what I was saying).

                            You got after me, saying that my post "offered nothing to the OP's question." I was just pointing out that your post was just as irrelevant to the OP's question as mine. You were responding to someone else... good for you, but that's not the issue you brought up. You brought up the "OP's question." Your post was still just as irrelevant and offered nothing to the OP's question. That was the only point I was making.

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