In Part I, I briefly outlined the formal examination process prior to presenting an insanity/lack of mental responsibility defense. Now here is some information on the “law” or legal standard for an insanity defense. This is the defense that Major Hasan and his lawyers are going to have to consider for his actions at Fort Hood. The outlines can be found in Rule for Courts-Martial (RCM) 916(k).
You can immediately see why PTSD might not be sufficient of a mental health issue to be a defense rather than mitigation, because:
However, as the discussion to the Rule points out, an issue of partial mental responsibility may go to rebut a specific intent (e.g. premeditation) required for an offense.
The presumption of competence places the burden on the defense to raise it. The Members Panel, likely from Fort Hood, will have to decide whether any evidence presented overcomes the presumption of responsibility for the acts at Fort Hood. Next a look at some of the cases that apply the defense (or don’t). The defense is a very hard one to make.