Orlando Criminal Lawyer
call for a free
consultation

Severe Mental Illness, Criminal Conviction, and the Death Penalty

Lawyer2

In the field of criminal defense, we frequently see circumstances under which individuals are convicted of crimes without mental illness being adequately taken into account at the trial level; including circumstances which result in the death penalty.

In the best case scenario, after someone has spent years and years on death row, evidence comes to light concerning this mental illness, and their death penalty sentence turns into life behind bars. Worst case scenario, the truth never comes to light, and not only do these inmates never get the treatment that they need, but this costs taxpayers a tremendous amount of money.

Florida Remains in Dark Age on Mental Illness & Death Penalty

Fortunately, improvements have been made, and we understand more and more every year, shifting away from mandating capital punishment for individuals diagnosed with severe mental illness. Last year, eight states introduced legislation prohibiting the death penalty for people suffering from severe mental illness.

Unfortunately, Florida is not one of those states: Inmates have filed petitions with the U.S. Supreme Court arguing that Florida courts have frequently applied the wrong standard for mental competency, and ignored the standard set forth by the U.S. Supreme Court (that inmates have a rational understanding of why they are being executed).

This mandate persists even though numerous state governors have supported reform, pointing out current death penalty law does not adequately take the effect of mental illnesses into account. For example, individuals–including those who have been executed in Florida–can still get the death penalty even though they suffered from severe delusions, schizophrenia, PTSD, etc. 

Insanity Defense: Burden of Proof

In Florida, the defendant bears the burden of proving their insanity via clear and convincing evidence.  They must demonstrate not only that they suffered from a relevant deficiency in mental capacity at the time of the crime, but that they were unable to understand the consequences of their actions or could not tell what they were doing was wrong.

While Florida has civil commitment laws that establish criteria for determining when an individual is suffering from a severe mental illness and can or cannot order an individual to be involuntarily placed in a state treatment facility, criminal laws defining the elements of severe mental illness and providing for a pre-trial hearing by the court are still lacking. Many feel that this type of legislation is necessary in order to stay up-to-date with our knowledge of mental illness.

Florida and Massachusetts Criminal Defense Attorneys

If you or a loved one is facing criminal conviction even though a severe mental illness is involved, you need to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney right away. Contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys at The Baez Law Firm today to find out how we can help.

Resource:

deathpenaltyinfo.org/category/categories/states/florida?page=11

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Google+
Miami Office

Miami Office

40 SW 13th St, Suite 901
Miami, FL 33130
Office: 305-999-5100
Fax: 305-999-5111
Orlando Office

Orlando Office

23 South Osceola Avenue
Orlando, FL 32801
Office: 407-705-2626
Fax: 407-705-2625
Miami Office

Boston Office

6 Beacon Street, Suite 510
Boston, MA 02108
Office: 800-588-BAEZ
Orlando Office

Massachusetts Office

66 North 2nd Street
New Bedford, MA 02740
Office: 800-588-BAEZ

Email Us

Fields Marked * Are required

Captcha Image

DISCLAIMER: Completing and submitting this form or otherwise merely contacting The Baez Law Firm or any individual at the firm will not establish an attorney/client relationship. Our firm cannot represent you until we determine that there would be no conflict of interest and that we are otherwise able to accept representation of your case. Please do not send any information or documents until a formal attorney/client relationship has been established through an interview with an attorney and you have been given authorization in the form of an engagement letter with The Baez Law Firm. Any information or documents sent via this form or otherwise prior to your receipt of an engagement letter will not be treated as confidences, secrets, or protected information of any nature. Submitting information regarding your potential case will not bar The Baez Law Firm from representing or continuing to represent a person or entity whose interest are adverse to your in condition with your case.

DISCLAIMER: This website contains information about The Baez Law Firm that includes testimonial statements from persons who are familiar with the firm's services. The testimonials shown are not necessarily representative of every person's experience with us. Testimonials from every client are not provided. As no two situations or persons are identical, the facts and circumstances of your situation may differ from those for which testimonials are shown. This website also includes information about some of the past results that we have obtained for our clients. Not all results are provided, and the results shown are not necessarily representative of all results obtained by us. No two situation are exactly alike; every person's situation is unique and the outcome for each person depends on the individual facts.

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.
MileMark Media - Practice Growth Solutions

© 2015 - 2018 Baez Law Firm. All rights reserved.
This law firm website is managed by MileMark Media.

Contact Form Tab