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cult members and crazy
Posted: Tue May 19, 2015 2:24 am
http://inpp2015.com/speakers/killer-cul ... -delusion/
Killer Cult Members and the Insanity Plea: Exploring the Line Between Belief and Delusion
Author: Dr. Brian Holoyda
Affiliation: University of California, Davis Medical Center
Topic: Phenomenology and psychopathology
Presentation format: oral presentation
Abstract Title: Killer Cult Members and the Insanity Plea: Exploring the Line Between Belief and Delusion
Cults are charismatic groups defined by members’ adherence to a set of beliefs and teachings that differ from mainstream religions. Cult beliefs may appear unusual or bizarre to those outside of the organization, which can make it difficult for an outsider to know whether or not a belief is cult-related or delusional. In accordance with these beliefs or at the behest of a charismatic leader some cult members may participate in violent crimes like murder and later attempt to plead not guilty by reason of insanity (NGRI). It is therefore necessary for individuals evaluating cult members to understand how the court has responded to cult members and their beliefs when pleading NGRI for murder.
The purpose of this paper is to determine whether or not individuals who have committed murder secondary to involvement in a cult organization and have attempted to plead not guilty by reason of insanity (NGRI) have ever successfully put forth such a defense.
We conducted a review of extant appellate court case law to identify cases involving cult-related murder phenomena that reached appellate review. Then we identified whether or not a mental illness defense such as not guilty by reason of insanity was put forth. Out of the 398 cases reviewed, there were seven such unique cases of cult-related murder.
Based on a review of extant appellate court case law, cult member defendants have not yet successfully plead NGRI on the basis of cult involvement despite receiving a broad array of psychiatric diagnoses that could quality for such a defense. With the reintroduction of cult involvement in the DSM-5 criteria for Other Specified Dissociative Disorder, however, there may be a resurgence of dissociative-type diagnoses in future cult-related cases, both criminal and civil.