The country is focused on other issues right now, but the Supreme Court just made a landmark decision.
All in the name of freedom.
The court was hearing a crucial case that could decide how states handle certain criminal defenses.
In the past, states were forced to follow guidelines handed to them by the federal government.
What’s amazing about this ruling is, it wasn’t even a “party-line” vote.
A typically liberal justice joined with the conservative bench to pass the ruling.
The Supreme Court on Monday ruled against a Kansas man who argued his constitutional rights were violated when the state refused to allow him to bring an insanity defense.
In a 6-3 opinion, the Court said an insanity defense that considers whether a defendant can distinguish between right and wrong is not constitutionally required.
In a 6-3 ruling, the Supreme Court decided that states have the right to reject the insanity plea in criminal cases.
Kansas, and other states, allow a defendant to plead not guilty by reason of insanity. This can give a criminal a chance to worm out of a sentence if they can convince a court (or jury) that did not intend to commit a crime.
For a long time, criminals have tried to get out of punishment by claiming they were crazy. A criminal could get sympathy by claiming they had some kind of mental problem—whether it was true or not.
You can imagine how someone could get a doctor to go along with this scheme. Imagine how many ruthless criminals might get out of serving time if states were forced to accept this plea.
This ruling means that states aren’t Constitutionally required to go along with insanity pleas in court.
We’re not talking about minor civil cases, mind you, but cases involving the taking of life. That’s a serious crime to commit—and a defendant should not have the ability to wiggle out of it.
But this does also mean that states have the freedom to accept this plea, when applicable. We can’t expect every case to be the same.
And if a person does have a serious mental illness, states will be able to decide how to proceed.
This means the federal government, through the courts, can’t make the decision for states. It protects states’ rights regarding something as critical as the criminal justice system.
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