Commonwealth v Berry

COMMONWEALTH v. BERRY (2010): Clarified instructions to juries stressing that voluntary intoxication when mixed with either a latent or active mental illness does not necessarily preclude a finding of lack of criminal responsibility. Juries need to consider whether the person knew or should have known that the consumption of alcohol would either activate a latent mental illness or exacerbate an active one. The Court indicates that if the jury finds that the individual knew or should have known the impact of intoxication on the individual’s mental illness, then the person can not be found lacking criminal responsibility. The Court emphasized that lacking data on the defendant’s level of knowledge about the impact of intoxication on her mental illness, results in the jury not having to consider whether the person knew or should have known the impact of intoxication on their mental illness.

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Commonwealth v. Berry (.pdf)