Q: What is the best mental health defense? I am being charged with arson. I was suicidal and tried to kill myself.
The act was committed entirely because of my mental illness. I was experiencing severe psychosis and depression upon auditory hallucinations. If I was not sick I wouldn't have done it.
A: Mental Health "defenses" must be established by medical professionals. Talk with your attorney about a psychological exam. Good luck.
A: First, you have no idea what they can prove so stop posting confessions online.
Second, as a general rule, only defendants facing the DEATH PENALTY are willing to attempt an insanity defense. To win this defense you have the burden of proof to show that, as a result of severe mental disease or defect, you did not know that ARSON was wrong... Not guilty by reason of insanity is losing by winning, because if you didn't know Arson was wrong they'll declare you criminally insane and a danger to society. Then they'll keep you sedated in the state mental hospital until you are 70 years old and your healthcare costs are sky-high. Then they take you off the sedation meds, declare you "cured", and release you onto the street with no assets, no friends, no family, no job, and the future world has changed out from under you.
Third, you are probably better off looking for sympathy rather than "I have a mental defect that causes me to hear voices commanding me to burn things!" Talk to your criminal defense attorney about what sorts of things would be ideal. What does your attorney wish she could tell the prosecutor to elicit sympathy for you?
It might go something like this:
"This incident opened my client's eyes to the consequences of his untreated clinical depression so now he is seeing a psychologist weekly and a psychiatrist monthly. Here are letters from those service providers showing that he is attending sessions and making progress. Here are copies of his prescriptions for antidepressants and antipsychotics. He is thankful to his care providers and has enrolled in university and started taking classes to become a [crisis counselor/psychiatric nurse/etc..] here are his transcripts (full of all As and one B) and here is his class schedule for the current semester... he is taking summer classes and an internship also. Unfortunately, this career path requires a license from the State of Texas and a felony conviction for Arson will prevent him from being licensed. So a conviction here actually stops my client from helping people (voters) in this community. Here is a letter from an attorney who practices in the area of Administrative Law and Licensing which explains that even a Deferred Adjudication for Arson will prevent licensure and the most he can have is a misdemeanor. So let's talk about how we can resolve this with a misdemeanor or two... I'm thinking of charges like Criminal Mischief and/or Criminal Trespass. Can we work something out that doesn't ruin this guy's future over a curable mental illness?"
I'm just spitballing ideas here, not giving you legal advice. I don't know which approach is best for Dallas prosecutors. That's why you need to consult with YOUR attorney instead of trying to DIY it with online questions. Your attorney probably has a different idea of the best defense strategy and you should trust her on that because she is the only one with access to the state's evidence. If you don't have an attorney then mortgage everything to hire the best one available in your jurisdiction. It is no exaggeration to say that your future depends on it.
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