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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
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    Question Claiming Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity as a Defense to Shoplifting

    My question involves criminal law for the state of: South Carolina

    I have a question. I know of a young woman in her mid-twenties who shoplifts because she was raped by her father. The shoplifting started in middle school when she would steal things from the school store. She feels she has a need to steal things because she was raped. Would this be a NGRI plea? She's been caught shoplifting but knows that its wrong. But she was raped by her father and her desire to shoplift is because she was raped, feeling the need to steal like she was stolen from. I feel she deserves the insanity plea but I need some help with this. She is my friend and is in big trouble because she shoplifts. She's also worked as a prostitute. She's poor and doesn't get much medical help but I feel that if she gets and NGRI defense she might finally get some help. What if you know it's wrong but were abused when you were younger? I know it's not ethical to do such a thing but apparently it's the law. They're saying she's insane because she didn't know it was wrong to be abused when she was younger, that as a child she desired to be raped by her father because children want to please their parents. She sees a lot of doctors who want to help her but she's in legal trouble. Can someone help give me some advice? What about "guilty but insane?"

    burningiris

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    7,831

    Default Re: Shoplifting Ngri

    Quote Quoting burningiris
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    My question involves criminal law for the state of: South Carolina

    I have a question. I know of a young woman in her mid-twenties who shoplifts because she was raped by her father. The shoplifting started in middle school when she would steal things from the school store. She feels she has a need to steal things because she was raped. Would this be a NGRI plea? She's been caught shoplifting but knows that its wrong.

    burningiris
    It’s awful that she was a victim of rape as a child. But it won’t get her off on the shoplifiting charges under an insanity plea. First, understand that being a victim of rape does not automatically mean that the victim suffers any kind of mental illness, let alone meet the standard for insanity that would be a defense to a crime. Under South Carolina Code section 17-24-10(A), the insanity defense requires that “at the time of the commission of the act constituting the offense, the defendant, as a result of mental disease or defect, lacked the capacity to distinguish moral or legal right from moral or legal wrong or to recognize the particular act charged as morally or legally wrong.” In short, since you say she knows stealing is wrong she doesn’t meet the standard for an insanity defense.

    Quote Quoting burningiris
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    What about "guilty but insane?"
    South Carolina Code 17-24-20(A) provides that a verdict of “guilty but mentally ill” applies if the defendant had at the time she committed the offense “the capacity to distinguish right from wrong or to recognize his act as being wrong as defined in Section 17-24-10(A), but because of mental disease or defect he lacked sufficient capacity to conform his conduct to the requirements of the law.” This would require compelling expert testimony to prove that she truly lacked the ability to conform her conduct to the law when she knew it was wrong. It is a claim that doesn’t succeed very often. Note that a guilty but mentally ill verdict is still a guilty verdict and she gets sentenced just like anyone else convicted of that offense except that if she is sentenced to prison and is still mentally ill at the time of sentencing she’ll be committed for treatment until such time as mental health officials say she is safe to join the general prison population.

    If you are not a lawyer you cannot represent her in the shoplifting case and cannot give her legal advice. She really ought not talk to you about the case either, as that makes you a potential witness against her. What she needs to do is get a lawyer to represent her. If she cannot afford one, she may qualify for a public defender. If you want to help her get a private attorney, that might be helpful for her. And in any event, she should continue to seek mental health treatment for whatever mental troubles she suffers.

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