Brief Fact Summary. No facts available.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Expert testimony concerning an individual’s abnormal mental condition is allowed in a criminal case for the purpose of negating the specific intent element of the crime.
Issue. Can mental health evidence be admissible apart from its bearing on the insanity issue?
Held. Yes. Judge Leventhal considered the issue for the court. Expert testimony about the defendant’s abnormal mental condition may be received and considered in order to show that the defendant did not have the specific mental state required for a particular crime or degree of crime. Such testimony can be heard even if the defendant was aware of the wrongfulness of his actions. This issue often comes about with respect to the element of premeditation in a first degree murder case.
Discussion. In order for the expert testimony to be received, the court must first determine whether the testimony is sufficiently scientifically supported and whether it would aid the jury in reaching a decision on the ultimate issues in the case.