Mental breakdown resulting in arson

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Mental breakdown resulting in arson

A man has a psychotic episode and sets fire to a trailer. He is the only one in the home when the fire is started. He is later diagnosed as Bipolar I. What is the most appropriate defense or plea proposal?

Asked on April 21, 2009 under Criminal Law, Mississippi

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You could try "not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect".  However, in MS bi-polar disorder is not a complete defense.  Possibly a reaction to meds could also be argued.  Note also that even if the party is found guilty they could bring this up at sentencing to obtain a sentence reduction.  If some sort of civil action is involved, the defendent could use this defense to mitigate their damages.

You really should consult with an attorney on this matter.  If you need help in finding one, try www.AttornyPages.com.  Or possibly, depending on the invidivual's financial situation, either a public defender could be appointed or you may get a private firm to send one of its attorneys to act pro bono.


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