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Landmark Cases

Case Name: Monte DURHAM v. U.S.

Date, Location, Cite: 1954 DC
214 Fed Rptr 2d 862
US Circuit Court of Appeals for DC

Durham was arrested in 1951 for burglary. He had a long history of Serious Mental Illness / arrests. Pled Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity(NGRI) - no jury. Judge at trial said burden was on defendant to prove mental state at the time of the crime. DC used Right / Wrong & irresistible impulse tests. Appeals reversed, said "law presumes person sane until some evidence is introduced to the contrary, then burden shifts to prosecution -never to defendant." Judge Bazelon created a new test : "Defendant not Criminally Responsible if unlawful act was a product of Mental Disease or Defect- if no Disease or Defect, or act not a product of them, then defendant is Criminally Responsible." [These are the 'Durham rules']