Monday, May 16, 2016

People v. Herrera (Cal. Ct. App. - May 16, 2016)

Whoa.  See what you think about this one.

The popular media might describe the case in a plethora of different ways.  Maybe they'd call it a "gay rage" case.  Maybe they'd be more accurate and call it a "PTSD" case.  Maybe, in a perfect world, we would all concisely (and accurately) describe the opinion as revolving around the degree to which "expert testimony explaining how [a defendant's] past history of trauma was likely to affect his mental state at the time of the offense."  (Or, to put it a slightly different way -- and in support of a different conclusion -- whether "a mental health expert may [] give testimony that the defendant did or did not form the mental state required for the crime charged.")

Either way, it's an interesting case.  With interesting facts.  And a split between the majority and the dissent.

See which of these two opinions you find more persuasive.  The answer's by no means clear-cut.  And in the meantime, there are some scintillating -- though depressing -- facts to keep you interested in the outcome.