Diminished Capacity


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Diminished Capacity

This doctrine recognizes that although, at the time the offense was committed, an accused was not suffering from a mental disease or defect sufficient to exonerate him or her from all criminal responsibility, the accused's mental capacity may have been diminished by intoxication, trauma, or mental disease so that he or she did not possess the specific mental state or intent essential to the particular offense charged.

diminished capacity

n. essentially a psychological term which has found its way into criminal trials. A contention of diminished capacity means that although the accused was not insane, due to emotional distress, physical condition or other factors he/she could not fully comprehend the nature of the criminal act he/she is accused of committing, particularly murder or attempted murder. It is raised by the defense in attempts to remove the element of premeditation or criminal intent and thus obtain a conviction for a lesser crime, such as manslaughter instead of murder. While the theory has some legitimacy, at times juries have been overly impressed by psychiatric testimony. The most notorious case was in People v. Dan White, the admitted killer of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk, who got only a manslaughter conviction on the basis that his capacity was diminished by the sugar content of his blood due to eating "twinkies." (See: insanity, M'Naughten Rule)

References in periodicals archive ?
Ex-NHK reporter diagnosed as having diminished capacity
Rutherford's lawyer, Lorenzo Perez, has raised a diminished capacity defense on his behalf, maintaining his addiction to drugs at the time of the slaying rendered him mentally incapable of forming the specific intent to kill that is required for a first-degree murder conviction.
Among children who continued to suffer from OSA into their teens, they found a higher rate of problems with attention, hyperactivity, aggressiveness, difficulties controlling their emotions and managing social situations, as well as a diminished capacity to independently care for themselves.
One, presidential biographer Robert Dallek, told him, "This is what will end up defining this era of the presidency - the diminished power, the diminished authority, the diminished capacity to shape events.
The results of a mental examination have shown that Muto was in a state of diminished capacity at the time of the murder and was in a state of insanity when he dismembered his sister's body as he had assumed ''another character.
The current school board would exist in a diminished capacity.
To provide duly appointed VA police officers with a specialized orientation to agency law enforcement policies and procedures, to train these officers in the proper exercise of statutory law enforcement authority, and to teach them to handle situations that involve patients or persons of diminished capacity constitute the mission of the VA LETC.
The reduction to manslaughter was an acknowledgement of that diminished capacity," he said, adding that Mr.
Mbtps1 and a number of other genes are needed to help process unfolded proteins by activating the unfolded protein response, but the diminished capacity of Mbtps1 causes unfolded protein to build up.
Those with hearing loss should not tolerate a life of diminished capacity - especially when a hearing solution might be just one doctor visit away.
Defense lawyers for Kawaguchi had sought a lenient sentence, arguing she had no intention to kill the boy and that she was in diminished capacity at that time.
The school board would continue to exist, but in a diminished capacity.