The 'insanity defense' and diminished capacity


LII

Why does it all matter?

Sentencing issues

Kaczynski's defense team would have liked to introduce evidence which supported a "not guilty by reason of insanity" judgment. Success on those grounds would have resulted in an acquittal of the defendant, and in his probably committal to a government psychiatric institution. However, Kaczynski refused to allow his attorneys to pursue this course.

The defense attorneys would not like to be allowed to argue the "diminished capacity" defense. If this defense is successful, it might have one of two effects:

Evidentiary issues

The prosecution sees diminished capacity essentially as a sentencing matter. They argue that allowing evidence of Kaczynski's paranoid schizophrenia would unduly bias the jury in his favor and would distract jury members from the issue at hand: whetehr Kaczynski committed the acts of which he is accused. They want the judge to refuse to permit such evidence to be presented to the jury.

Furthermore, the prosecutors are upset that Kaczynski will not allow government experts to interview him. In the interest of fairness, they argue, the defense must not be allowed to present evidence which results from its own witnesses' interviews with Kaczynski.