Public fury comes down hardest on those who abuse their children. To be sure, there is something vitally human inside of us that condemns such actions with unrivaled passion.
Hence the reason why when it happens, it tends to make national headlines. Such is the case of one 20-year-old mother who was found to have smoked meth and pot with her two-year-old child.
Authorities were called into the woman’s home amid scandalous reports of child abuse. She was arrested and charged, and the child was given a tox-screen for the drugs. The child was found to have both meth and pot in her system which indicated chronic, and not one-time, abuse.
Defending the Indefensible
Criminal defense attorneys don’t want to live in a society that condones smoking meth with your children. Nonetheless, criminal defense is a practice of law that aims to ensure everyone gets a fair trial. It’s important to recognize that the same laws that protect unfit mothers protect you. The same laws that condemn them also protect them.
We know next to nothing about this woman. We know only one thing about her life: that she thought that it was okay to allow her 2-year-old child to smoke methamphetamine. This seems to indicate to us that this woman does not share the same sense of reality that most of us do. Given the serious nature of her crime and the public outcry against her, the law protects her from the backlash of a justly enraged community.
The Insanity Plea (Diminished Capacity)
The law governing all states requires that a defendant has the moral agency to recognize right from wrong and good from evil. When they cannot, the defendant can be rehabilitated in a psychiatric institution where they will be treated and evaluated, usually for a lengthy period of time.
Generally speaking, when a person commits child abuse they do so with the intent of injuring a child. They understand that their actions can result in injury, and they do the deed anyway, knowing full well that their actions are both immoral and illegal. This requires the intent to do wrong, also known as mens rea, meaning “guilty mind”.
There are, however, conditions under which a diminished capacity defense may not be applied:
- If the diminished capacity was caused by voluntary drug abuse
- The person needs to be removed from the streets for the good of the public’s interest
- The defendant has a serious history of violent actions
- The defendant was convicted under chapter 71, 109A, 110, or 117, of title 18, United States Code.
This woman might be convicted for the battery of charges she has been accused of. However, one potential way to defend such a defendant would be to attempt to prove that she had a history of mental illness that predated her drug abuse. If this could be proven, then the drug abuse may only constitute an aggravating factor and not the sole cause of her diminished capacity.
Contact Us Today for Help
If you’ve been charged with a crime, please contact Skier Law Firm, P.A. of West Palm Beach. We can help you get a fair trial and fair treatment under the law.