Arlington, WA asked in Criminal Law, Appeals / Appellate Law and Constitutional Law for Maryland

Q: Can you have a review of sentence if there were no jury instructions on mental issues of ptsd&paranoia&drunk at the time

During jury deliberation the jury ask court if first degree murder meant he intended to kill the one person or anyone. The prosecutor was allowed by Judge to give them transfer of intent to anyone. Mental health on both sides proved defendant had ptsd, Paranoia, Social Anxiety, alcohol and drug addiction. He was very drunk at the time according to all the witnesses. Jury was never given instructions on people with ptsd and his other mental issues mind frame when people verbally threaten them. No instruction on being drunk and high at the time interferes with intent. Prosecutor stated during trial each time he pulled trigger it was intentional even though all witnesses said all shots were fired within 2.5 seconds. Defendant said he didn't think he reacted to a threat and fired to scare people so he could run to his car and get away and never met to hurt anyone. His no experience with guns and drunkenness made shooting gun hard to controll. Would any of this be grounds to have review

1 Lawyer Answer
Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Rockville, MD
  • Licensed in Maryland

A: There is no special instruction for that, and the general instructions on intent are sufficient. What you are arguing is based on the evidence which I assume was presented at trial and was therefore argued on your behalf by your lawyer as a basis to raise a reasonable doubt as to your ability to form the intent to kill required by the degree of murder charged. The jury is then free to consider whether your state of intoxication and mental illness prevented you from forming the requisite mental state to form the intent to commit murder. However, for mental illness to be a defense, you would need to have raised the defense of insanity.

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