Prosecutors Admit Defendant Is Insane In Major Homicide Case . . . In Norway

Norwegian prosecutors today did something that U.S. prosecutors appear incapable of doing in high-visibility case — admit that a defendant is legally insane. Prosecutors in the case of confessed mass killer Anders Behring Breivik’s trial told the court that he should be committed to compulsory psychiatric care instead of prison. They stated that their were too many doubts about his sanity when the 33-year-old Norwegian killed 77 people in a bomb and gun rampage on July 22.

In the U.S., prosecutors often challenge any insanity plea regardless of its obvious strength — ignoring their obligation to seek justice as opposed to the maximum level of punishment or sentencing.

Breivik is a self-described anti-Muslim militant and has shown bizarre behavior throughout the trial. He claims Norway and Europe are being colonized by Muslims. I have little doubt that prosecutors in U.S. would have pushed for sanity and the death penalty in such a case — helped by an insanity standard in the United States that ignores generally recognized definitions of mental illness. Under that standard, prosecutors would simply argue that he could still tell the difference between right and wrong and seek the death penalty.

Norway clearly draws the line with greater care and its prosecutors are willing to face public backlash to do what they believe is justice in such cases. While they may also believe that he could be held longer in an asylum, it is clear that the Norwegian legal school applies a more scrutinizing process for such claims.

Source: BBC

23 thoughts on “Prosecutors Admit Defendant Is Insane In Major Homicide Case . . . In Norway”

  1. BarkinEog.

    Norway can extend a 21 year sentence for five years at a time, when the sentence comes up for control, if the person is deemed still dangerous. He can effectively be held for life. See my link to Time article.yesterday.

    He is quite clear as to what he did and his pruposes. He welcomes imprisonment and selcomes that alterantive as he is fighting psy treatment alternative. He has stated a wish to use his ntotoriety to promote his political
    platform re Muslim immigration.

  2. To avoid the harshest penalty, don’t deny that you are mentally insane. Just say “crazy” things, and let public opinion work it’s magic.

  3. Insanity is too serious a subject to make humour of. Not competent to stand trial is one aspect of the criminal justice system that needs examination here. Does this guy know whats going on? Or, does he think he is in Nairobi or someplace? If he knows that he is in trial and must posit a defense then the question is can he posit a defense? Or will he say something like Hang me for I have done the right thing. Some people are sane and say: Hang me I hate the bla bla people. The next phalanx of issues is whether he was insane at the time of the crime. One might say that the defendants at Nuremberg were insane when, they gassed Jews, gypsies and others deemed non fit. This guy is of that ilk.

    Norway is looking for a solution to a defect in their own system that cannot be cured for this defendant after the crime. They do not have a death penalty for really evil people and they do not have a life sentence. So now they want to put Heir Eichmann away indefinitely on the grounds that he is insane. The difference between this guy and Eichmann is that this guy was not in a position of political power. This guy would do this again, maybe on a small scale, because he has this intact construct of hate and vengence. And he is not the Lord.

    Norway is in a pickile that they created. They think they are advanced and humanist and therefore do not need a death penalty for the Eichmanns who might come along or a penal sentence of life to keep the schmuck from killing again when he gets out.

  4. the weird thing is that he keeps saying that it was a terrorist attack against multiculturalists inspired by american writers such as pamela gellar. Sure everyone who kills is seemingly insane but this was an idealogical attack inspired by american propaganda. I hope gellar gets charged too.

  5. Mespo,

    What do you feel would be an appropriate indictment, if any, of parents who leave a new-born in the sole care of a 3 year old sibling?

  6. Ashigaru:

    Mental incapacity can come from many sources not just mental disease or defect. Age too can be an excuse due to lack of mental capacity to form the requisite malicious intent. That hardly seems the case here, but if a four-year-old girl smothered her infant sibling thinking it was an act of affection would you fee equally strong that she’s “done”?

  7. So what if he is insane? The guy clearly forfeited his right to life by his heinous actions. I don’t care what state of mind he was in. When you murder a bunch of people, your done!

  8. Whereas normally a law takes years to draw from, Norway set a blinding example by passing in weeks lex Breivik to provide for special psychiatric incarceration.

    According to this article, the bar association is in an uproar, and some lead psychiatrists question the mandated regulations on psychiatric judgements.

    The article notes that prisoners currently are capable of full use of speech, etc. And notes one extreme example.
    Whether that will be changed is another point being considered.,8599,2115900,00.html

  9. Sweden does not have a death penalty. Life imprisonment can be carried out to natural termnination, but is ofter commuted to a fixed term. His deedw were rational, if killing opponents is rational, but he is insane and without empathy for his victims.
    Norwegians seldom worry themselves for backlash. It was
    in my opinion the only way to avoid their max of 25 years.

    Risk of becoming sane and being released are small, or what say the qualified here?

  10. His actions has made his insanity obvious, I have not read much about his actions prior to his expressed madness. What is the standard for admitting and diagnosing a person to be insane? I have witnessed questionable fits of rage by individuals, terrible decisions and justifications. Often times and best, I choose to remove myself and advise others to leave this individual alone. I imagine there are a number of individuals that are just 3 or 4 badly timed coincidences away from a total meltdown insane snap. I don’t believe there is any “acceptable by law” solution to the inevitability of this or similar insanity. If I were walking down the street and a meteor klunked me on the head, my relatives and peers would accept this as an unfortunate act of nature. I can only perceive the action of a snapped insane individual to be an act of nature, and I by good fortune have never (and hopefully never), will be in the path of such madness….or a meteor.

  11. Mespo, Nal, prof Turley,

    What are the 4 magic words that automatically put comments in moderation…… If this has been posted…..I seem to have missed it as well as others……

    Should I listen to George Carlin to figure them out…… If that’s the case give me the three that are okay……

  12. I don’t really think it’s justice they are trying to serve, but to escape the backlash of his maximum sentence would be 25 years or 26 years…… What they are seeking to do is keep him incarcerated for as long as possible…….. Which is a fairly good strategy…….

  13. He is the epitome of the foreign policy concepts of many of the 1% who sainted Ayn Rand, and yes, he is as nutty as a fruit cake.

    He is another bully produced by the universal bully religion promulgated by propaganda that George Orwell wrote about.

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