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Old 04-22-2015, 06:29 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Autistic Young Man in Bar Fight

Situation: FL. Two young men in a bar. One 25 yrs. and the other 18 yrs. and autistic. The older male starts a fight with a group of drunks after they poke fun at the autistic male. During the scuffle, one of the drunks injures the autistic male with several punches. In retaliation, the autistic male delivers a punch, knocking one of the drunks down to the ground and into a coma.

1. Typically, who would be charged with what crimes?

2. Regarding the autistic young man's charge(s), would his attorney and his clients (the young man's parents) have the option between 1) fighting the charge as self defense or 2) using his autism condition to avoid prosecution. What different options would he have?

3. Would a court-ordered therapist intervene? If so, how much influence would his opinion have? Is there ever situation where the therapist would have final say? Toward the end of the film 'Rain Man,' a court-ordered therapist is used, apparently, to determine the best home for Raymond (Dustin Hoffman). In this case, how much influence does the therapist have? I would really like to know if there is ever a case when the therapist has final say.

Thank you.

Alex
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Old 04-23-2015, 01:44 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Self Defense

In a case like this a self defense claim may be brought to defend any assault charges if the facts were true and that the punch was thrown in retaliation of another punch and the person believed that the punch or self defense was necessary to protect themselves. Proving such a defense can be tricky since a defendant will generally have to demonstrate that self-defense was necessary, the belief of physical harm was reasonable, and that the response was reasonable.

In regards to the mental deficiency claim, a claim can be brought if the person mental defect did not allow him to realize the wringfulness of his act. This depends on what state law supports what mental deficiency claim. A mental responsibility- the accused is found not to be criminally responsible if, as a result of mental disease or defect, he lacks substantial capacity either: (a) to appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct to conform his conduct to the requirements of law

Therapist may be brought as a expert
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Old 04-23-2015, 03:44 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thank you, KouroshA. Extremely helpful.

A final question or two if you don't mind:

Quote:
Originally Posted by KouroshA View Post
...Proving such a defense can be tricky since a defendant will generally have to demonstrate that self-defense was necessary, the belief of physical harm was reasonable, and that the response was reasonable...
If the autistic defendant is mute (He hasn't spoken since the age of three), he's pretty much dead-in-the-water, isn't he?

Quote:
In regards to the mental deficiency claim, a claim can be brought if the person mental defect did not allow him to realize the wringfulness of his act...
The young man is heavily autistic. If he were to be institutionalized, at the suggestion of his attorney, would this help his chances of claiming mental deficiency?
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Old 04-28-2015, 01:06 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Autistic Mental Deficiency

There is no set bar or definition of what constitutes as a mental deficiency since everyones case is different and every law/court treats these types of cases differently. This is why there are expert witnesses that come to the courts and testify (after reading the facts of the case and comparing their own studies) on what their opinion is regarding the mental deficiency of either party in the case- if that is at issue.

A court does not have any written amendment/law or rule of what is defined as mental incompetency/deficiency.

Talk to an experienced criminal defense attorney who can look over the case facts and determine how an expert can be brought in or whether an expert will be helpful.
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