Not Guilty of a Felony | Mental Illness
Susan was suffering from an acute mental illness, a psychotic episode that caused delusions.
Edina police initiated a traffic stop because of a minor offense (not signaling a lane change). Susan didn’t stop, though. In her delusional state, she believed the police were escorting her on a mission from God, so she did not pull over.
Police and sheriff’s cruisers from Eden Prairie, Bloomington, Shakopee, Prior Lake, and the Minnesota State Patrol joined in the chase. Eventually, the police deployed stop sticks deflating her tires and simultaneously executed a “PIT Maneuver,” dangerously spinning her car off the road. The police executed a felony stop, pulling her out of her car with five officers pointing guns at her.
Susan was charged with a felony for fleeing. She hired me. I studied her mental health history and her case carefully. Even though it is very rarely successful, I decided to pursue a defense of Not Guilty by Reason of Mental Illness (a/k/a the much-maligned “Insanity Defense”). Only about 0.025% of cases end in verdicts of Not Guilty by Reason of Mental Illness, or about one case every five years in Hennepin County. But I pursued it because it was important.
I got Susan an acquittal, a not guilty verdict on her felony charge of Fleeing a Peace Officer. She is not going to prison. Susan is an intelligent woman with a treatable mental illness. Due to determined criminal defense work, Susan will receive treatment for her mental illness. Now she won’t get sicker and sicker, languishing in prison. Instead, she can fulfill her potential, as a mother, a daughter, and a proud, productive human being.
Round up the Usual Suspects
Mark was pulled over and charged with gross misdemeanor DWI. It seemed to me that the police pulled him over on a whim (they had seen a car leave a small-town bar and didn’t know whom it belonged to); they rolled the dice. The police are not free to detain you except under limited circumstances. I got all charges dismissed.