Three Year Old Trial Will No Proceed
Michael Doyel was charged with murdering his former girlfriend, Deborah Jones, in 2008. Doyel allegedly strangled Jones, put her body in a storage bin, and then carried her across state lines. Furthermore, Doyel took Patricia Murray, a handicap woman, with him on his cross country trip without the consent of her guardian. Doyel is facing charges of murder and kidnapping, both first-degree felonies. Originally when the case came before the court in 2009 Doyel was considered incompetent and placed in the Utah State Hospital. On Friday, however, Doyel had a hearing in which the court deemed him to be competent and able to stand trial, a scheduling conference for the trial has been set for late August.
Competence and the Law
In the criminal justice system a person’s sanity comes into play in two separate stages. As illustrated by Doyel’s case the court must first determine whether or not an accused person is competent to stand trial. There are different standards for this determination but the general idea is whether or not the person will be able to comprehend or understand the proceedings against them. The second point in which a person’s sanity can play a role in the criminal proceedings is in determining guilt. The statutory structure of most crimes is such that a certain mental state is required for a person to be guilty of said crime. For example Utah’s Robbery statute states that “a person commits robbery if the person unlawfully and intentionally takes or attempts to take personal property….” In this state the mental state required is “intentionally” meaning the person knows what they are doing and they are doing it of their own free will. In the case of an insanity plea the person is saying that they are of a mental state that they don’t understand right from wrong, or they don’t understand the consequences of their actions and thus cannot be guilty of a crime because they didn’t have the necessary mental state.
Insanity is probably one of the more well known criminal defenses thanks to its portrayal in T.V. and movies, but it is actually not used that often and not usually very successful when used. When it is successful, however, it is not much of a winning situation for the defense because a successful insanity defense usually puts the defendant in a state run mental care facility and doesn’t get them off scott free as the media sometimes portrays it. Defending against criminal charges can obviously be very complicated and can carry many different outcomes and consequences for the accused. That’s why it is so important to get an attorney that understands the criminal justice system and can easily explain all the possible outcomes for their clients. The lawyers at Salcido Law Firm are experienced criminal defenders that can help protect your rights, if you are facing criminal charges give us a call so we can help protect you. 801.618.1334