February 28, 2011
God's Command And Jury instructions
The New Jersey Appellate Division reversed the conviction of a defendant convicted of murdering his pregnant girlfriend. The court concluded that the jury instructions on the insanity defense require a new trial:
The judge's instructions on the insanity defense did not preclude the possibility that the jury believed the defendant acted on God's command and yet rejected the insanity defense by finding the defendant understood what he did was legally wrong. Because it is not inconceivable that the jury rejected the insanity defense because it did not know that insanity could have been found if defendant knew what he did was legally wrong but nevertheless acted because of God's command, we are compelled to conclude the charge was capable of producing an unjust result.
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