Diminished capacity is a mental impairment. Occasionally, people might refer to diminished capacity as insanity or to the resulting crime as an excusable homicide. However, diminished capacity is a lesser mental defect than criminal insanity. And Wisconsin law does not recognize the term excusable homicide. Rather, if a defendant successfully asserts a diminished capacity defense, then the resulting homicide is excused. If a homicide is excused, then it is not a criminal homicide. Under Wisconsin law, a person cannot be held criminally liable for his conduct, even if the conduct resulted in a homicide, if at the time that the crime was committed he had a mental defect that caused him to lack substantial capacity either to understand and appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct or conform his conduct to lawful behavior. (WI Statutes 971.51(1)). However, the defendant bears the burden of proving mental defect. Diminished Capacity & The Burden of Proof In order to convict a person of a homicide, the state must prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. While it may sound as though that is a difficult task, juries often convict innocent people of very serious crimes, including homicide. Additionally, the Wisconsin State Supreme Court has held that the defendant's Constitutional rights are not violated by the court putting the burden of proof of the defense of diminished capacity on the defendant. Wisconsin law provides that the defendant must establish the evidence of diminished capacity to a reasonable certainty by a greater weight of the credible evidence, which is a standard of proof exceeding "a reasonable doubt". Diminished Capacity & Incompetence Diminished capacity defenses and incompetency defenses differ in both timing and effect. A diminished capacity claim applies to the time at which the crime was committed; conversely, a competency claim applies to the time at which the defendant is tried for criminal homicide. A diminished capacity claim asserts that the defendant lacked the capacity to commit the homicide at the moment that he is accused of committing it. A competency claim asserts that the defendant is not mentally competent to stand trial. A diminished capacity claim must be proven in a court of law during a trial by the evidence and a substantial certainty by the jury that the evidence proves the mental defect. A competency claim must be proven to a court. Beyond Diminished Capacity To Insanity If a defendant asserts insanity, he is asking the Court to declare him legally insane. The process whereby a defendant is declared legally insane differs from one in which the defendant must prove diminished capacity. To prove diminished capacity, the defendant must be competent to stand trial. To lack compentency means a defendant cannot stand trial. Free but professional "first-impression" analysis If you are under investigation or have been arrested for any crime, or if you have already been convicted of a crime and believe your conviction to be wrong or your sentence too harsh, please call (608) 350-1004 or email the Attorneys at Tracey Wood & Associates right away. An Attorney at Tracey Wood & Associates will provide you with a brief but professional free "first-impression" analysis of your appeal based on the facts that you are able to convey. You can also submit your case online or email the attorneys.
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Please take notice that although the law firm of Tracey Wood & Associates website contains a large amount of accurate and useful legal information about drunk driving, OWI, DUI, Sex Crimes, Expungement and other serious crimes, it is not intended to be used as legal advice. Only an attorney can counsel you on your specific case. Please contact the attorney at Tracey Wood & Associates immediately should you find yourself charged with a Drunk Driving in Wisconsin, a DUI (Driving Under the Influence), OWI (Operating Under the Influence) or any other serious crime in Wisconsin at (608) 350-1004. Even if your researching drunk driving laws or sex crime laws in Wisconsin, Lawyer Tracey Wood can assist you.