How Likely Is an NGI Defense to Succeed? : Legal Articles from Gamino Law Offices, LLC

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How Likely Is an NGI Defense to Succeed?

by Gamino Law Offices on 05/13/14

 - Attorney Tedia Gamino
How Likely Is an NGI to Succeed?

People love to speculate on the outcomes of court cases – particularly when someone uses an NGI defense in Wisconsin. It happens more often than you might think, but how likely is it to succeed?

What is an NGI Defense in Wisconsin?

In Wisconsin, NGI means not guilty by reason of insanity. Because our laws clearly state that someone is suffering from a mental illness or other issue that makes them unaware that they’re committing a crime, or that causes them to be unable to conform to the law they’re accused of breaking, an NGI defense is a very valid way to protect people from undeserved punishments.

It doesn’t always work out that way, though.

Wisconsin NGI Defenses in the News

Last year Wisconsin veteran Ben Sebena shot and killed his wife attempted to use an NGI defense until two separate doctors concluded that the mental health issues he was experiencing didn’t justify it. He later changed his plea and was sentenced to life in prison; he’ll be eligible for parole in 2048.

Also last year, the son of a prominent Wisconsin judge, James N. Donegan, stabbed and strangled a woman in Milwaukee because he believed he was defending himself in a religious battle between angels and demons. Because of his long history of psychiatric issues and official diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia, which was obtained before he committed the murder, the NGI defense he used worked in his favor; he’s been committed to a mental health facility for life.

Considering Using an NGI Defense in the Wisconsin Court System?

If mental responsibility is an issue in your case, or if someone you care about has been accused of a crime but you feel they may qualify to use an NGI defense, you need to talk to a Milwaukee criminal defense attorney right away. It could mean the difference between prison and the mental health care that you – or your loved one – desperately needs.

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