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Proof of mental disease or defect must demonstrate that the defendant's inability to form the requisite culpable mental state was the product of a mental disease or defect, not just a particular emotional state or mental condition. It is the showing of lack of capacity to form the requisite culpable mental intent that is central to evaluating the admissibility of expert psychiatric testimony on the issue.
Defendant Shawn Hatcher was involved in the shooting death of one victim and the gunshot injuries to two more victims. Also charged were defendant's brother and a friend. Defendant was tried individually before a jury in January 2005. Defendant was convicted. On appeal, defendant raised six issues: (1) the trial court erred in its instructions to the jury on criminal responsibility; (2) the trial court erred by failing to charge duress; (3) the trial court erred when it allowed a prior recorded recollection to be admitted as an exhibit; (4) the trial court erred by failing to instruct the jury about voluntary intoxication; (5) the trial court erred by refusing to admit certain of Defendant's medical records; and (6) the trial court erred by admitting certain photographs of the deceased. The Court of Criminal Appeals refused, however, to consider issues raised after the original motion for new trial had been denied, and addressed only those issues raised in the original motion for new trial, holding that the subsequent attempts to amend the motion for new trial were untimely. The Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed Defendant's convictions and sentences. Defendant further appealed.
Should the defendant’s conviction be upheld under the circumstances?
The court found that the trial court should not have permitted the defense to amend its motion for new trial after the new trial hearing had been held and an order had been entered. Defendant's fear of his brother was not the type of mental disease or defect contemplated by a diminished capacity defense. The issues raised by defendant that were not included in his original motion for a new trial were waived. The proof was overwhelming that defendant was a willing and active participant in the attack. None of the evidence demonstrated that defendant's alleged intoxication was such that, hours later, it deprived him of the mental capacity to form the culpable mental state required for premeditated murder or attempted premeditated murder. There was no proof that defendant's brother threatened defendant in order to achieve his assistance in the attack upon the victims.