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 ?
Approximately 72% of the broker-dealers reported having an escalation procedure in place for diminished capacity or elder financial abuse or exploitation.
Nineteen percent of financial planners said that addressing diminished capacity during retirement was at least one of their top three client retirement planning issues.
Prudential, it seems, has a well thought-out plan to deal with diminished capacity issues.
The court also held that the services provided by the caregivers were necessary maintenance and personal care services that she required because of her diminished capacity and that they were provided under a care plan prescribed by her physician.
A number spoke of diminished capacity for healthy and wholesome relationships in family life.
Globally, the report states that the production of motor vehicles dropped significantly as a result of the Japanese market's diminished capacity following the 11 March earthquake and tsunami.
Without it, Oregon is stuck with a diminished capacity to pay costs inherited from times when the economy was stronger.
Mr Emyr said: "We understand that it's not impossible, but it would result in a very diminished capacity.
He said: "We understand that it's not impossible but it would result in a very diminished capacity.
Summary: ABU DHABI -- Motorists who talk on their mobile phone while driving have diminished capacity similar to that of a drunken driver, said Professor Hassan Al Yahmedi of the Tunisian Association for the Prevention of Road Accidents.
Tomohiro Kato ''has a mental disorder and is suspected of having suffered from a diminished capacity or insanity,'' the lawyers said in arguing against the death penalty in the final plea by the defense, emphasizing that Kato still cannot recall the details of the incident.