State v. Hathaway

Decision Date25 June 1965
Citation161 Me. 255,211 A.2d 558
PartiesSTATE of Maine v. Clyde Maynard HATHAWAY, Jr.
CourtMaine Supreme Court

Phillip M. Kilmister and Jerome S. Matus, Asst. Attys. Gen., Augusta, for plaintiff.

John A. Platz and Thomas E. Day, Jr., Lewiston, for defendant.

Before WILLIAMSON, C. J., and WEBBER, TAPLEY, SULLIVAN and MARDEN, JJ.

SULLIVAN, Justice.

Respondent a boy 12 years of age was indicted for murder. He pleaded not guilty, not guilty by reason of insanity and not guilty by reason of mental disease or mental defect. He was tried by a jury and was found guilty. During trial respondent noted and reserved 12 exceptions. Respondent after verdict seasonably moved for a new trial and has appealed from the Court's denial of such motion. Respondent here prosecutes his exceptions and appeal.

In his motion respondent inter alia protested that the instructions of the trial Court to the jury were erroneous as a matter of law.

Some of the presiding Justice's jury instructions were as follows:

'What is the rule if the Respondent says 'I am not guilty by reason of insanity,' or 'I am not guilty by reason of mental disease or mental defect?' The burden is then upon the Respondent to prove these allegations or contentions by a fair preponderance of the evidence. You will there note there is a distinction. The State must prove the necessary elements, which are required by law for the State to prove, by a degree beyond a reasonable doubt. In the affirmative defense--and a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity, and so forth, would be termed an affirmative defense--there the burden is upon the Respondent, not to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt, but by a fair preponderance of the evidence.'

* * *

* * *

'To establish the proposition that he was insane, or was suffering from some mental disease or mental defect, in the legal sense in this State, and, therefore, not criminally responsible at the time of the commission of the act, this Respondent must, as I have previously indicated to you, establish by a fair preponderance of the evidence that he was afflicted with mental disease or mental defect of such character that he would not have at the time of the commission of the act the mental repacity to distinguish between right and wrong as to that particular act, and that he had no knowledge or consciousness enough to know that the act was wrong and criminal. Then he was established that he was either insane or suffering from a mental disease or mental defect, and not otherwise.

'On the other hand, whatever the character or extent of the mental disease, if any he had, if at the time of the doing of the act he had sufficient mental capacity to understand the situation, and know the nature and quality of his act, that it was unlawful, that it was morally wrong, then he was not legally insane or legally suffering from any mental disease or mental defect. In other words, he must show by a fair proponderance of the evidence the existence of some mental disease or mental defect at the time of the act, and also that the disease was of such character or extent that it deprived him at that time, for the time being at least, of the mental capacity to understand the nature or quality of the act he was doing, its character and consequences or, in other words, the mental capacity to distinguish between right and wrong and to know that the act was wrong. He must not only show that he could not in some respect be able to know the difference between right and wrong, but show a connection between the mental disease, if any there was--and that is for you to say--and the acts in question, that those acts flow from the mental disease that existed, and that the act was the product of a diseased or defective mind. If he establishes the mental disease, and its extent to the point I have described, then he was insane in the legal sense, and the act he did--if you find he did the act--is the unfortunate result of disease. Otherwise, the act must be held to be the result of a vicious disposition for which he is legally responsible.

'For your further enlightenment, I will read a recent statute enacted by our Legislature, which reads as follows: 'An accused is not criminally responsible if his unlawful act was the product of a mental disease or mental defect.' The terms 'mental disease' and 'mental defect' do not include an abnormality manifested only by repeated criminal conduct or by excessive use of drugs or alcohol.'

* * *

* * *

The statute so quoted by the presiding Justice is R.S.1954, c. 149, § 17-B (P.L.1963, c. 311, § 3) (15 M.R.S.A. § 102) and reads as follows:

'An accused is not criminally responsible if his unlawful act was the product of mental disease or mental defect.

'The terms 'mental disease' or 'mental defect' do not include an abnormality manifested only by repeated criminal conduct or excessive use of drugs or alcohol.'

This statute by its first sentence adopts the 'Durham Rule,' so-called, the 'disease--defect--product test.' The second sentence adds a stated modification to the 'Rule.'

The Durham Rule is not statutory but was enunciated as a court decision in Durham v. United States, 94 U.S.App.D.C. 228, 214 F.2d 862, 874, 875, 45 A.L.R.2d 1430 (1954) as follows:

'The rule we now hold must be applied on the retrial of this case and in future cases is not unlike that followed by the New Hampshire court since 1870. It is simply that an accused is not criminally responsible if his unlawful act was the product of mental disease or mental defect.' See State v. Pike, 49 N.H. 399 (1870).

Previous to 1961 (P.L.1961, c. 310) this jurisdiction was said to observe the 'M'Naghten Rule.' In M'Naghten's Case, House of Lords, 1843, 10 Clark & Finnelly's Reports, 200, 210, it was said in part by the judges in response to theoretical questions:

'* * * to establish a defense on the ground of insanity, it must be clearly proved that, at the time of the committing of the act, the party accused was laboring under such a defect of reason, from disease of mind, as not to know the nature and quality of the act he was doing, or if he did know it, that he did not know he was doing what was wrong * * *'

In State v. Lawrence, 1870, 57 Me. 574, 576, this Court assented to a 'right--wrong test' by acquiescing upon appeal with the subjoined instruction given in the trial court:

'To excuse a man from responsibility on the ground of insanity, it must appear, that at the time of doing the act he had not capacity and reason sufficient to enable him to distinguish between right and wrong, as to the particular act he was doing. That he had not knowledge, consciousness, or conscience enough to know, that the act he was doing is a wrong act, and a criminal act, and one that he will be subject or liable to punishment for doing * * * In other words, a man may be a monomaniac, his mind may be disordered, and, to a certain extent, it may be proved that he is of unsound mind, and yet, if he has mind and understanding enough, and is not carried away so but that the understands the difference between right and wrong, as to the act he is doing,--that is to say, if the man knew that what he was doing is wrong, and he was liable to be punished for it, and that the act would not be excused, then he is subject to punishment, although there might be some partial derangement.' See, State v. Knight, 95 Me. 467, 50 A. 276, 55 L.R.A. 373.

Our modified Durham Rule statute was enacted by P.L.1961, c. 310 as R.S.1954, c. 149, § 38-A. It was repealed by P.L.1963, c. 311 § 2 and reenacted by P.L.1963, c. 311, § 3 as R.S.1954, c. 149, § 17-B.

In State v. Park, 1963, 159 Me. 328, 334, 193 A.2d 1, 4 this Court said:

'The line between criminal responsibility and lack of criminal responsibility is drawn by our 1961 statute. We then discarded the McNaghten Rule and adopted the Durham Rule with modifications.'

The McNaghten Rule had long become a subject of controversy when in 1954 the Durham Rule was formulated judicially by the District of Columbia Circuit Court as the test of criminal responsibility.

'* * * The science of psychiatry now recognizes that a man is an integrated personality and that reason, which is only one element in that personality, is not the sole determinant of his conduct. The right-wrong test, which considers knowledge or reason alone, is therefore an inadequate guide to mental responsibility for criminal behavior. As Professor Sheldon Glueck of the Harvard Law School points out in discussing the right-wrong tests, which he calls the knowledge tests:

'It is evident that the knowledge tests unscientifically abstract out of the mental make-up but one phase or element or mental life, the cognitive, which, in this era of dynamic psychology, is beginning to be regarded as not the most important factor in conduct and its disorders. In brief, these tests proceed upon the following questionable assumptions of an outworn era in psychiatry; (1) that lack of knowledge of the 'nature or quality' of an act (assuming the meaning of such terms to be clear), or incapacity to know right from wrong, is the sole or even the most important symptom of mental disorder; (2) that such knowledge is the sole instigator and guide of conduct, or at least the most important element therein, and consequently should be the sole criterion of responsibility when insanity is involved; and (3) that the capacity of knowing right from wrong can be completely intact and functioning perfectly even though a defendant is otherwise demonstrably of disordered mind." Durham v. United States, supra, 214 F.2d at 871.

The Durham case did not completely abandon the right-wrong factor.

'* * * The jury's range of inquiry will not be limited to, but may include, for example, whether an accused, who suffered from a mental disorder or defect did not know the difference between right and wrong, * * *.' Durham v. United States, supra, at 876.

The Durham decision affirms the...

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