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Southfield, Mich. — Aug. 7, 2015 —Attorney Neil Rockind, founder of Southfield-based criminal defense law firm, Rockind Law, weighed in on the news that Michigan State Senator Virgil Smith may plead the insanity defense in his upcoming trial. Smith was charged in May 2015 with felonious assault, malicious destruction of personal property, domestic violence assault and battery, and felony firearm possession following an incident where he fired shots at his ex-wife’s vehicle following a scuffle at his home.
“The insanity defense is one of the least understood, most distrusted and most rejected defenses in criminal law,” Rockind said. “I don’t want to pre-judge without having all of the facts, but based on the information currently available, an insanity plea would appear to be ill-advised.”
Rockind continued that the justice system already does a poor job of protecting the mentally ill from criminal prosecution and conviction and juries don’t need another reason to reject the otherwise legitimate insanity defense.
“Our jails are full of mentally ill persons who, despite their illness, were deemed competent to stand trial and ultimately criminally responsible because the legal standards with the insanity defense have become so difficult to meet.” Rockind said,” I am interested in seeing how this case unfolds because, at first blush, the claim that a sitting senator was insane is tough to swallow.”
Rockind added that if an insanity plea is filed, the results of a required state forensic exam could take months.
About Rockind Law
Rockind Law is a Southfield, Michigan-based criminal defense law firm aggressively pursuing justice for individuals facing criminal charges, including white collar crime, drunk driving, narcotics and assault. To find out more about the firm’s services and resources, visit http://www.rockindlaw.com/.