Many individuals that find themselves on the wrong side of the law also suffer from mental illness. A Maryland man suspected of carjacking and theft may have taken the vehicle under the illusory premise that he was being pursued by assailants. The man’s attorney asserts that his client “was in the throes of his psychotic attack.”
The story received media attention because a high speed chase while a 19-month old child was in the backseat of the car. His attorney plans on presenting the insanity defense after the court made a determination that he is now mentally competent to stand trial.
Psychiatric examinations of the arrestee did bring up the possibility that the man suffers from schizophrenia. This person may also suffer from a substance abuse problem as he was allegedly under the influence of marijuana and an opiate based drug at the time of his arrest.
Whether all that is alleged in this case is true will be a determination for the court to make. However, this case does bring up a particular problem in our legal system and that is certain suspects do suffer from various mental ailments that likely contribute to some rather erratic behavior. Such individuals often require psychiatric care rather than time spent in jail.
It is too easy to judge an individual’s circumstances on their behavior alone without delving into what caused the individual to do what he did. Few of us truly understand the torture that some individuals go through due to emotional and mental disorders. If the above individual was or still is mentally ill, hopefully he will receive the care that he so badly requires.
Source: The Washington Post, “Md. Carjacking suspect was delusional, attorney says,” by Dan Morse, April 5, 2012