The Kentucky legislature has handed HB 269 and despatched it to the Governor for approval. The Invoice precludes the demise penalty for people who had “energetic signs” and a “documented historical past” of sure enumerated psychological problems on the time of the offense conduct. The checklist contains schizophrenia, schizoaffective dysfunction, bipolar dysfunction and delusional dysfunction. The proposed laws doesn’t require proof that the “energetic signs” had impaired the defendant’s rationality in any method throughout the fee of the crime.
This method has many issues, however I’ll briefly talk about two.
First, the time period “energetic signs” isn’t outlined and is thus a legislative development. Nonetheless, many of those dysfunction are notable for his or her negative symptoms. These embody decreased motivation and a diminished expertise of enjoyment in life. These are actual signs and their results can profoundly adversely have an effect on an individual’s high quality of life, notably since they have a tendency to endure even when different signs of the dysfunction have abated. Nonetheless, given their nature, it’s doubtless that anybody who has a documented historical past of one of many enumerated psychological problems will qualify as having “energetic signs” regardless of their degree of lucidity.
Second, there isn’t a logical or simply purpose why individuals solely with a “documented historical past” ought to be handled otherwise. Clearly, the laws envisions fraud as a purpose for this requirement. However it’s comparatively widespread for individuals with these problems to haven’t any therapy historical past throughout the early course of their sickness —to not point out that there isn’t a ethical purpose to deal with those that haven’t had the chance for therapy to be topic to a special punishment.
This can be a dangerous Invoice no matter your stance is on the demise penalty.