The Criminal Responsibility Capability of the Psychopath from “First Degree Fear”

  The 1996 American film “First Degree Fear” was adapted from the novel of the same name written by William Deere. It tells the story of a horrific bloody case that shocked the nation in Chicago in the late 18th century. Defense attorney Martin Weir was defending the suspect Allen The story of schizophrenia was discovered during the defense.
  The respected old bishop Rosen was stabbed 74 times and died in his home, and his body was engraved with mysterious numbers. The police suspected that Alan, a teenager adopted by the old bishop, was the murderer, and all the evidence collected pointed to Alan, and then the police caught Alan covered in blood. to file a lawsuit in court.
  Lawyer Martin Weir decided to defend Allen for free, hoping to make a name for himself with the case.
  Will and Allen met at the detention center. After learning about Will’s intentions, Allen initially distrusted him, but after some conversations, Allen was gradually persuaded to accept Will as his role. his defense attorney.
  In court, Will’s ex-wife, the female prosecutor Janet Reiner, presented a large amount of evidence against Allen as the murderer, but all of them were rejected by Will’s powerful legal rhetoric. After that, the judge announced a temporary adjournment, and another day will be held.
  Allen couldn’t tell exactly what happened that night, and Will also thought that Allen had something to hide from himself. In order to recall Allen’s memory, Will and psychiatrist Molly Arrington questioned Allen together. As the problem deepened, Allen gradually turned from meek to fierce, as if he had become another person, and Will’s doubts deepened.
  Will finds another boy adopted by the old Bishop Rosen, and discovers a shocking secret that the old Bishop adopted Alan to satisfy his own voyeurism. When he went to the detention center to question Allen, Allen suddenly seemed to be a different person. He called himself “Roy” and admitted that he killed the old bishop Rosen and protected “Ellen”. After venting, “Roy” changed back to “Ellen” and had no memory of what happened just now. After consulting with a psychiatrist, Will determined that Allen had schizophrenia.
  After the retrial, the psychiatrist testified as a witness that Allen suffered from schizophrenia and would become the murderer Roy when he was abused to the point of extreme pain. Janet Reiner, however, pointed out that Alan killed the old bishop only because he was abused while performing pornographic performances for the old bishop. After some heated debate and cross-examination, Allen suddenly jumped out of the dock, and he became “Roy”. Immediately afterwards, he attacked Janet Reiner, and everyone in the courtroom was stunned.
  The judge decided to cancel the jury and sentenced Allen to hospital for 30 days of observation and treatment by a doctor. After the trial, Will goes to visit Alan, who has returned to normal. When parting, Allen asked him to apologize to Janet Reiner on his behalf. Will suddenly thought that Allen should not be able to remember anything when he became Roy, so he became suspicious. At this time, Allen, who was seen through, looked at Will and laughed wickedly. Will finally understands that Ellen is the real non-existent. Alan has been gone forever since the old bishop adopted him and brought him back to that holy hell.
  There was only Roy, and he deceived everyone.
  Criminal Responsibility
  The film focuses on the impact of Allen’s schizophrenia on court decisions, so what exactly is criminal responsibility?   China’s Criminal Law stipulates that the ability   of
  criminal responsibility refers to the ability of the perpetrator to recognize and control his own behavior. Article 17 stipulates that a person who has reached the age of 16 commits a crime and shall bear criminal responsibility; a person who has reached the age of 14 but has not yet reached the age of 16 commits intentional homicide, intentional injury causing serious injury or death, rape, robbery, drug trafficking, Those who commit the crime of arson, explosion, or throwing dangerous substances shall bear criminal responsibility; those who have reached the age of 14 but have not yet reached the age of 18 shall be given a lighter or reduced punishment, and will not be sentenced to death (including suspended death); If no criminal punishment is imposed, his parents or guardians shall be ordered to discipline him, and when necessary, he may be taken into custody by the government; those who have reached the age of seventy-five may be given a lighter or reduced punishment if they commit a crime intentionally; A lighter or mitigated punishment.

  2. The capacity
  for criminal responsibility of the mentally ill ① The mentally ill with no capacity for criminal responsibility at all. Paragraph 1 of Article 18 of the Criminal Law stipulates that if a mentally ill person causes harmful results when he cannot identify or control his own behavior, he shall not bear criminal responsibility if it is identified through legal procedures, but his family members or guardians shall be ordered to strictly monitor and Medical treatment; when necessary, medical treatment is compulsory by the government.
  ② A mental patient who is fully capable of criminal responsibility. Paragraph 2 of Article 18 of the Criminal Code stipulates that an intermittent mental patient who commits a crime when he is in a normal mind shall bear criminal responsibility.
  ③ mental patients with limited capacity for criminal responsibility. Paragraph 3 of Article 18 of the Criminal Law stipulates that a mentally ill person who has not completely lost the ability to recognize or control his own behavior commits a crime, but he shall bear criminal responsibility, but his punishment may be lighter or mitigated.
  Note that in addition to the above two usual situations, China’s “Criminal Law” also stipulates the capacity for criminal responsibility in several other situations:
  ① The capacity for criminal responsibility of an intoxicated person. Paragraph 4 of Article 18 of the Criminal Law stipulates that a drunken person who commits a crime shall bear criminal responsibility.
  This is mainly due to the fact that a drunk person has not completely lost the ability to recognize and control his own behavior, and that the perpetrator has complete control over whether his behavior will lead to the occurrence of drunkenness (the “drunk person” mentioned here is only Physiological intoxication is limited and does not include “pathological intoxication”).
  ②The capacity of criminal responsibility of the deaf and blind. Paragraph 4 of Article 18 of the Criminal Law stipulates that a deaf and mute person or a blind person who commits a crime may be given a lighter, reduced or exempted punishment.
  Deaf, dumb and blind persons are not persons without criminal responsibility. They have the ability to identify or control their own behavior, but due to their physical defects, they are bound to be limited in receiving education and participating in social practice activities, and their ability to distinguish right from wrong is worse than normal people. A crime may be mitigated, mitigated or exempted from punishment.
  Hot Issues
  1. In China, is schizophrenia a mental illness and how is it judged in judicial cases?
  Schizophrenia is the most common type of mental illness characterized by changes in basic personality, split thinking, emotion, and behavior, and incoordination between mental activities and the environment. It is a group of common mental illnesses of unknown etiology, mostly in young adults, often with disturbances in perception, thinking, emotion, behavior, and incoordination of mental activities. . The prevalence of this disease is high, up to 6.55‰ in domestic statistics, accounting for about half of the lifetime prevalence (13.7‰) of various mental disorders (excluding neuropathy), and it is the highest prevalence among mental diseases. The disease seriously damages the physical and mental health of patients, and brings a heavy burden to the patient’s family and society. In the early stage, it is mainly manifested as personality changes, such as ignoring relatives, not paying attention to hygiene, smiling alone in the mirror, etc. The further development of the disease is manifested as disordered thinking, the patient’s thinking process lacks logic and coherence, the speech is messy, and the words are incomprehensible. In addition, the more typical symptoms, there are delusions and hallucinations.

  In the film, Allen’s schizophrenia is medically identified as a type of schizophrenia. So how to define the responsibility of schizophrenia patients? It is generally believed that in judicial practice, if the crime is not in the residual period of schizophrenia (personality change), it does not belong to the limited liability capacity. However, if it is in the residual period of schizophrenia (personality change), it is limited liability capacity and should be leniently punished “as appropriate”.
  2. In my country, is depression a mental illness and how is it judged by judicial examples?
  Depression, also known as depressive disorder, is a major type of mood disorder characterized by significant and persistent low mood. It can be seen clinically that depression is not commensurate with the situation. Depression can range from depression to grief, low self-esteem and depression, and even pessimism and world-weariness. There may be suicide attempts or behaviors; even stupor occurs; severe cases may appear hallucinations, delusions and other psychotic symptoms. . Each attack lasts for at least two weeks, or even for several years in the elderly. Most cases tend to have repeated attacks. Most of the attacks can be relieved, and some may have residual symptoms or become chronic. At present, in my country, it is conservatively estimated that there are 16 million people with severe mental illness, and even more patients with depression.
  Regarding whether patients with depression need to be divided according to the responsibility of mentally ill patients, Chinese scholars have concluded and confirmed from trial practice that mild depression is not a mental illness in principle; but severe depression needs to be determined according to specific circumstances. to divide. In trial practice, if depression does not lead to a decrease in the ability to recognize and control behavior, it is not limited liability; if depression leads to a decrease in behavior recognition and control, it is limited liability, and should be “as appropriate” lenient punishment.
  Conflict between the public’s simple concept of justice and the general principles of criminal law
  According to the provisions of China’s criminal law, because the mentally ill lack the ability to make rational judgments in many cases, they simply do not have the independent capacity and corresponding accountability of normal people. In today’s world, the laws of almost all countries have established specific principles of criminal immunity for crimes committed by mentally ill persons.
  This leads to a very real contradiction: when the mentally ill commits a cruel crime, the public’s pursuit of justice will obviously conflict with the general principles of justice protected by law. The existence of such conflicts is difficult to avoid to a certain extent. What cannot be ignored is that each such conflict will affect the image of legal principles in the public mind, and may even affect the authority of the law itself.
  We can certainly regard this contradiction as an unavoidable “institutional cost”. However, it is also necessary for people to think about whether they can find ways to optimize the legal principles related to this, or deal with specific cases in a flexible way in practice, so as to reduce the sharpness of this contradiction as much as possible and let the law better implement the public. The pursuit of justice. Specific to such cases, in fact, does not necessarily need to rise to the level of legal principles to be resolved. From a medical perspective, or from the perspective of the flexibility of trial practice, this kind of contradiction may be better resolved, which involves the issue of freedom of cause and the assumption of criminal responsibility in criminal law.
  ”The mental patient is exempted from criminal responsibility” is a common consideration for justice in various countries. However, the law must also take into account the basic need for justice that victims should be adequately compensated. Correspondingly, the offender himself and his family members who are responsible for guardianship should bear more civil compensation liability to make up for the damage to fairness and justice caused by his immunity from criminal liability, and to compensate the loss suffered by the victim.
  All in all, the perfection of criminal law does not happen overnight. If the criminal law is to be more suitable for the development of society, it is also necessary to improve the relevant legal interpretations and revise and formulate supporting regulations, so as to make the entire legal system more complete.

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