Wondering if mental/psychological issues that are diagnosed and proven by a professional from this field can be used to mount a defense and/or mitigate charges when negotiating a plea or sentencing in federal court?
Has anyone ever encountered this?
Psychological and medical history, when properly diagnosed most certainty important in defense and mitigation. Sec 3553 of the US Sent Guidelines and caselaw support this approach.
It takes an experienced criminal defense attorney to properly and effectively present these attributes. The attorney must also be experienced in the history and application of 3553 factors in federal criminal cases.
Of course, every answer is based on the question asked and requires a more complete context. This answer should not be relied upon to make a legal decision. Seek the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney before acting. Law Offices of Raymond G. Wigell, Ltd. Defenders of the Constitution since 1975/ Aggressive Creative Defense Strategies/ Website: www.waaltd.com 24/7 --(708) 481-4800.
Can be, sure, but like any other defense or mitigation, you can expect it to be contested. "Diagnosed and proven by a professional from this field" is never a walk. The Government will always be able to find equally competent experts to disagree, and the prosecutor will always be able to argue, " . . . if it's true, so what?" So by all means it is something that the defendant's attorney would want to know about and explore. How much good will it really do? That depends above all else on the facts of the case and on the strength and credibility of the defense, also somewhat on the subjective attitudes of the prosecutor and the judge.
The answer is yes to both. The type of offenses charged will impact how that type of evidence is used. Charges that require intentional and knowing are called specific intent crime which require a more specific intent to prove a criminal act. Lack of mental responsibility, even a diminished capacity could affect a defense. Complete mental incompetence is off course always a defense but there is nothing in federal court that passes without challenge. The government will file motions to conduct their own assessment which will be granted by he court if a notice alleging lack of mental responsibility is filed.
Under the sentencing factors, any diminished capacity will be considered by the court in determining a sentence.
This is not legal advice. This is merely a recommendation on how to get what you need from the Court.