In Oakland County, a twenty-six year old mother picked up a knife and stabbed her thirteen-month old baby, puncturing his lung. She was charged with Assault With Intent To Commit Murder, a serious felony punishable by up to life in prison. Her defense was insanity based on post-partum depression and post partum psychosis.
This charge is like all crimes – comprised of necessary elements. Under the law, if even one element lacks a factual basis, the entire charge must be dismissed. Because a mental condition may have played a role in the incident, her defense was because she was legally “insane” at the time of the stabbing, she did not have the capacity to form the element of intent to be found guilty of this crime.
After the defense submitted an expert psychiatric witnesses, to provide the factual basis in support of the defense of legal insanity, the trial judge was compelled to enter a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity.
Consequently, the law requires that mother be committed to a psychiatric center for no less than 60 days. She must remain there (or at another facility), until her psychosis abates and/or she no longer poses a danger to herself or others.