Commonwealth v. Sheehan

(Mass, Intoxication and Criminal Responsibility)

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SYLLABUS: Drug addiction does not qualify as a mental disease or defect which would support a finding of a lack of criminal responsibility under the test outlined in Commonwealth v. McHoul, 352 Mass. 544 (1967). [767-771]

At a criminal trial there was no error in excluding the testimony of a psychiatrist that because of the defendant’s severe drug addiction he was unable at the time of the crime to control his actions or to conform his behavior to the requirements of the law where there was no evidence that the defendant suffered from a mental disease or defect recognized under the test outlined in Commonwealth v. McHoul, 352 Mass. 544 (1967). [771-772]

Where at a robbery trial a question to a psychiatric witness as to whether the defendant was incapable of forming an intention to commit the crime was excluded [***2] and no offer of proof was made, the record was inadequate to raise the issue of the effect of drug consumption on the defendant’s capacity to intend to steal or to raise a question as to whether the exclusion of the evidence was constitutionally unfair. [772-776]

At a criminal trial the judge did not err in refusing to instruct the jury that evidence that the defendant acted while in a state of intoxication or under the influence of drugs or both should be considered in determining whether or not the defendant acted with specific intent. [776]

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