People v. JamesAnnotate this Case
James was charged with aggravated mayhem and assault producing great bodily injury, with three prior convictions. He pled not guilty by reason of insanity. Court-appointed clinical psychologist, Dr. Griffth‘s report stated that James had been shot in the head in 1998 and, as a result, has a seizure disorder. Another head trauma occurred in 2011. James had been diagnosed with Mood Disorder, PTSD, and Polysubstance Dependence. James regularly used cocaine and marijuana, and occasionally used ecstasy, methamphetamine, acid, and mushrooms. Griffith opined that during the offense, James suffered a Psychotic Disorder [not otherwise specified], with psychosis present but undetermined whether due to a general medical condition, or substance induced, and that James “was not capable of knowing or understanding the nature and quality of his act and of distinguishing right from wrong.” Dr. Howard‘s report chronicled the same history, but concluded that his behavior was more likely the result of drug-induced psychosis or delirium and that James was not legally insane. In a bifurcated trial, a jury found James guilty, but then found him not guilty by reason of insanity. The court of appeal reversed, finding substantial evidence that James was unconscious, within the legal meaning of the defense of unconsciousness, when he committed the offenses; the court erred in refusing to instruct the jury on that defense.