Defense of Legal Insanity Likely If East Lansing Professor Prosecuted

October 11, 2012
By The Reeves Law Group on October 11, 2012 10:27 PM |

Sticky-note to self: It's Calculus 101 NOT pole dancing 101. And if that visual aid doesn't seem to be doing the trick, we have a feeling that Michigan State University calculus Professor John McCarthy's compulsory trip to the psychiatrist's office will drive the distinction home, once and for all.

In the mean time the Ingham County Prosecutor's office in Lansing, Michigan is taking a long hard look at the criminal implications of the professor's classroom strip tease. Yes, the term strip tease is technically correct, because the professor retained at least one item of clothing after publically disrobing: His socks.

Other details of the bizarre drama come from students who witnessed the classroom pandemonium. They report that, in the run-up to the professorial burlesque act, the educator was screaming profanities while exiting, re-entering and pacing around the classroom.

And after the last clang of the last spectator jaw hitting the floor, only stunned silence remained.

Two Michigan statutes are implicated in this matter. The first is the crime of indecent exposure. The basic necessary elements of the pertinent criminal statute include 'any knowing, open or indecent exposure of his or her person or of the person of another'. The crime of indecent exposure is a misdemeanor carrying up to one year in jail.

Aggravating factors include 'indecent exposure while fondling his or her genitals, pubic area, buttocks, or, if the person is female, breasts', while violating the basic law, set forth above. That version of the offense is a felony and carries up to 2 years in prison.

Finally, if the defendant committed the offense while under the status of 'sexually delinquent person', the penalty is up to life in prison or any term of years, but not less than a year and a day.

In this case, the element of knowledge implicates another issue, that being the defense of legal insanity. The elements of legal insanity are as follows: (1) Mental illness or mental retardation; (2) causing the inability to perceive reality, and/or; (2) causing the inability to control one's actions.

The law defines mental illness as a substantial disorder of mood or thought, which impairs a person's judgment, behavior, or capacity to recognize reality, or to cope with the ordinary demands of life. Psychiatrists typically boil all that to one word: Psychosis.

Thus, legal insanity may be found where, in the throws of a psychotic episode (1) the defendant perceives, through hallucinations, delusions and the like, that his objectively bizarre actions are normal, appropriate and rational under the circumstances, and/or; (2) the defendant's conduct was driven by an irresistible impulse.

Particularly because the professor's behavior appeared to be so completely irrational and lacking in any connection with reality whatsoever, this Lansing mental health attorney predicts that any East Lansing jury deciding the case would easily find the defendant not guilty on grounds of legal insanity.

At any rate, the trial is sure to be more riveting than the Biden Ryan debate.

Student: Michigan State Professor Ranted, Stripped Naked in Apparent Mental Breakdown, MLive Newspaper

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