My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


Can I Get Another Excuse With That Order, Sir?

I'm not entirely sure what the net effect of this ruling is going to be, but I think it does illuminate the bias that the Colorado Supreme Court operates under.

A diabetic man who attacked his wife with a hammer and then drove over her should have been able to defend himself by claiming he was suffering from low blood sugar, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled Monday.

The court said that insulin-induced hypoglycemia may, depending upon the circumstances, constitute a defense of involuntary intoxication and be used to show that a defendant isn't responsible for his actions.

So far, so good. I could see how a person would not have capacity to make responsible decisions if they were intoxicated, and if that were to happen involuntarily, then. . .

Unfortunately, that's not really where the jurisprudence on this issue ends.

The Colorado Supreme Court has previously ruled that a defendant can become involuntarily intoxicated by ingesting large quantities of cough drops. And the Colorado Court of Appeals has found that someone can become involuntarily intoxicated by overdosing on prescription drugs.

Really? So, voluntarily putting too many cough drops or prescription drugs in your mouth constitutes involuntary intoxication? I wonder if that defense would hold up if I were to, say, have a couple of drinks at dinner, but for some reason don't eat my meal, which would lead me into an unintentional state of intoxication? Let's just see if the nice officer who pulls me over buys that defense.

Does it matter? Why would this be different than, say, an insanity defense?

Someone found insane is committed to the Department of Human Services while someone who is found to be involuntarily intoxicated is "held morally blameless" and is returned to society, Bender said.

Oh, yeah. I guess that's a little different.

While this story, from the Post, does quote the 4-3 majority opinion in a couple places, I find it interesting that it does not quote the dissent at all. The Rocky Mountain News story does quote the dissent briefly, noting that the defendant had failed to follow doctor's instructions.

Think it might matter a little who gets to be the next governor? While it's true that the threshhold for proving involuntary intoxication is fairly high, the fact that the Court leans in this direction and has so in the past should give pause to those of us who prefer criminals pay for their crimes.

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