The parents of a 1-year-old child are facing attempted murder charges after attempting to light the child on fire at a truck stop, according to authorities. The incident occurred at a truck stop in New York, but both of the parents are from West Palm Beach. Another child was found at the scene with head injuries hiding near a trailer. Both children were transported to the hospital and are now safe and expected to make full recoveries.
Authorities were called to the scene after a report of several fires in a plaza building. Deputies say that the fire broke out after the parents had tried to set their 1-year-old on fire.
No motive for the crime has since been mentioned and authorities are not talking about it. This is likely because the defendants will attempt to raise an insanity defense. In this article, we’ll take a look at the prospects of an insanity defense in a case like this.
Understanding legal insanity
Pleading not guilty by reason of insanity after attempting to murder a 1-year-old child does not result in a good outcome for defendants. They may not have to spend the rest of their lives in prison, but chances are bad that the parents will be able to walk free. Instead, they are generally remanded to the care of a forensic psychiatric facility where they can remain in custody for decades before being released. There is no timeline for a forensic facility. Doctors make a determination as to whether or not you are a danger to yourself or others and release you on that basis. This could mean you only spend a few years in a prison-like psychiatric center or the rest of your life. Nonetheless, this is a better outcome than a mandatory life sentence.
Even though an insanity defense is unlikely to result in a free pass back into society, it is also incredibly difficult to secure and defendants who raise insanity tend to lose more often than not.
Folie a deux
Insanity verdicts in favor of defendants do occur on various bases and in some cases, the defendants are allowed to walk free when they can prove that the dangerous condition that led to the violence is no longer a significant factor. In one case, a man blamed the murders of his in-laws on Ambien after he sleep-walked to his vehicle, got into his car, drove to their home, and killed them. His attorney was able to prove that his brain waves while asleep on Ambien were different from his normal brainwaves.
While it may be rare to secure an insanity verdict for one defendant, it is rarer to secure it for two defendants accused of the same crime. The French have a term called folie a deux which refers to a delusion shared by two individuals. Nonetheless, there is a psychiatric precedent for this.
A better trial strategy would be for one of the defendants to blame the other for masterminding the scheme to burn the child while the other one felt scared or afraid for their own wellbeing.
Talk to a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney
The Skier Law Firm, P.A. represents the interests of those charged with crimes in West Palm Beach. Call our West Palm Beach criminal defense attorneys today to discuss your situation and we can begin preparing your defense immediately.