I recently assisted in obtaining a not-guilty verdict for a defendant who had actually engaged in sex crimes. He had exposed himself, had masturbated and had walked into a hotel lobby and had inappropriately touched the woman working at the front desk.
The defendant did every thing of which he was accused, so there was no uncertainty concerning his actions. However, the sex crimes with which he was charged required him to have intended his actions.
I reviewed this man’s medical records. He had previously been found to be delerious due to methamphetamine intoxication. He had laid down on Highway 101, one of the busiest highways in the world. He was found and taken to the county hospital for evaluation. The emergency room doctor determined that he had been delerious. He had been, and still was, a chronic methamphetamine abuser.
In the present case, the defendant was known to have been intoxicated with methamphetamine. He had no prior history of any kind of sexual fetish or perversion. However, the district attorney wanted to charge him with a sex crime and cause him to register as a sex offender. (Sex offender registration is a problem for individuals who are mentally ill. They forget to register each year or when they move, and that brings them additional criminal charges.)
I argued that this man was deranged and delerious, rather than a sex offender. He could have engaged in all sorts of inappropriate behavior because he was in a compromised mental state. He did not form the intent to engage in a specific sex crime. Instead, in his state of derangement, he simply did whatever he felt like at that moment.
Had he committed a sex crime? Absolutely. But had he formed the intent to commit a particular sex crime? No, he simply did what he felt like at the moment. This was in a similar fashion to his lying down in the middle of Highway 101. He had no affinity for lying down on a busy freeway. It just occurred to him at that moment, and his deranged mind did not thing to stop it. In a similar manner, his deranged mind figured it was a fine idea to begin masturbating in public and touching a woman who he happened onto.
By explaining to the jury the nature of delirium, I was able to convince them that this man was not a sex offender. He was simply deranged due to extreme drug intoxication. The jury agreed.