To plead not guilty by reason of insanity, cult members will need to prove they’re insane beyond belonging to a cult. As Michael Smith at Medpage Today notes, juries and judges are not convinced that cult involvement equates insanity.
Michael Smith via Medpage Today:
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TORONTO — Cult members who kill can be grandiose and delusional, controlling and violent. They can claim to communicate with God. They can claim to beGod. But are they insane?
From a medical point of view, the answer obviously varies from case to case (and some would argue that insanity is not a medical concept). But from a legal point of view the answer is “no,” according to Brian Holoyda, MD, MPH, a psychiatric resident at the University of California Davis Health System.
In general, courts and juries are not impressed with a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity (NGRI), Holoyda said in an a presentation at the American Psychiatric Association (APA) annual meeting.