California  |  Criminal Law

Legal Question

Asked on: 9/10/13, 12:59 pm

I have a dear friend who suffers from several disorders. He has schizophrenia, PTSD, alcoholism,depression and thats only the ones I know about. He takes medications for all this and cannot work he collects SSI. Last may he got caught stealing from Best Buy(headphones) and was charged and convicted of commercial burglary. He was sentenced to 60 days. He was only out of jail a little over a month and got caught in Sears stealing some levi's and has been charged but not convicted of petty theft with a prior. He told me he had been drinking when he did the last one he didn't even need the levi's!! Obviously the judges think he is sane. Doesn't his mental disorders call for a not guilty insanity plea? He has a record of of drunk in public, shoplifting and has done state time. I want to know in your opinion what you think the overall outcome of this case will be .

1 Answer


Answered on: 9/10/13, 1:20 pm by Edward Hoffman

Unfortunately, unless it rises to the level of insanity, even severe mental illness is not a defense against criminal charges in California. Neither is drunkenness, unless it was so extreme that the defendant could not form the necessary intent to commit a crime.

To be not guilty by reason of insanity, the defendant has to be unable to distinguish right from wrong. That seldom happens, even among defendants who have serious mental illnesses.


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