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Man Accused of Police Station Attack Found Competent to Stand Trial

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A man accused of attacking a Prince George County police station in 2016 has been diagnosed with severe mental health issues, but a judge ruled that he doesn’t qualify to use insanity as a defense at his trial.

Michael Ford, 25, was assessed by doctors and determined that he has mental health challenges that stem from childhood issues, but those findings don’t show that he is still able to be found criminally responsible during legal proceedings.

Ford is facing charges of assault, attempted murder, murder, and other related counts after the attack that resulted in the death of police officer Jacai Colson. Ford’s trial is set to begin October 22.

What is Legally Insane? 

A person that is facing criminal charges that is found legally insane may not be held accountable for crimes they commit due to the condition. Prosecutors are required to prove that a defendant intentionally committed a crime in order to prove their guilt. In order to determine if a person was insane at the time of the crime, the state will use one of several legal tests. These tests include the Irresistible Impulse Test, M’Naghten Rule, the Model Penal Code Test, and the Durham Rule. Maryland uses the Model Penal Code Test, or MPC.

Basics of the Model Penal Code Test 

A criminal defendant cannot be found guilty if they are found to have a mental defect, such as schizophrenia disorder or severe mental retardation, and when the crime took place they were unable to:

  • Understand the criminality of their conduct.
  • Conform their conduct to meet the law’s requirements.

This means that to be found legally insane, the defendant must be diagnosed with a mental disorder, usually by a mental health professional that has been appointed by the court, and lacked the ability to control their impulse that led to the crime or didn’t know the difference between right and wrong.

The MPC test was adopted in most states during the 1970’s but quit being used as much after John Hinckley Jr. was found insane after his attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan. Many states reverted to the M’Naghten Rule that is much stricter. Roughly 18 jurisdictions still use the MPC test.

The MPC Test Compared to Other Tests of Insanity 

The MPC test is much broader than some of the other tests. The M’Naghten Rule, for example, requires the inability to understand the difference between right and wrong, and the Irresistible Impulse Test, for example, requires the inability to control your impulses. The MPC test, on the other hand, asks defendants if they are able to understand the criminality of their conduct or are able to conform their conduct to the laws, basically combining the concepts of the other two tests. The MPC test also requires the mental defect or disease to be diagnosed by a licensed mental health practitioner.

Talk to a Criminal Defense Attorney Today 

Regardless of the test being used, attempting to use insanity as a defense will require very specific motions and findings during the case. If you need representation or are questioning legal insanity, you need to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney. Contact the Law Office of Hammad S. Matin today and schedule a consultation to speak with one of their experienced Maryland criminal defense attorneys.

Resources:

baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/crime/bs-md-pg-insanity-defense-20181012-story.html

advance.lexis.com/documentpage/?pdmfid=1000516&crid=fc1ba64e-2c53-4428-a596-bb8da0ae59fa&nodeid=AAKAAEAAG&nodepath=%2FROOT%2FAAK%2FAAKAAE%2FAAKAAEAAG&level=3&haschildren=&populated=false&title=%C2%A7+3-106.+Finding+of+incompetency&config=014EJAA2ZmE1OTU3OC0xMGRjLTRlNTctOTQ3Zi0wMDE2MWFhYzAwN2MKAFBvZENhdGFsb2e9wg3LFiffInanDd3V39aA&pddocfullpath=%2Fshared%2Fdocument%2Fstatutes-legislation%2Furn%3AcontentItem%3A5TC1-YPX0-004F-044J-00008-00&ecomp=-Jh8kkk&prid=e9112714-b573-4270-90ed-633bf92d6298

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