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Landmark Cases

Case Name: Michael JONES v. US

Date, Location, Cite: 1983 DC
463 US 354, 103 S.Ct... 3043
US SUPREME COURT

Defendant arrested in 1975 for petty larceny, which carried a maximum 1 yr term. He was sent to St Elizabeths Hospital, then found Competent to Stand Trial in '76, found Not Guilty by reason of Insanity (NGI) at trial. He was committed back to St. Elizabeths. In '80 he sued, saying he should be held only to maximum time for which he could have been sentenced, then meet civil standard or be released. ALL appeals were denied. The Supreme Court said finding of Not Guilty by reason of Insanity (NGI) by Preponderance of Evidence (51+%) standard was enough to justify holding; indeed, Not Guilty by reason of Insanity (NGI) proves defendant is not Responsible; "sentence" is hypothetical, since Not Guilty by reason of Insanity (NGI) means he was not Guilty. The Court refused to separate violent/non-violent crime, said all are bad, all justify commitment. [State of Conn uses hypothetical sentence as standard; says civil commitment "against" pt, Not Guilty by reason of Insanity (NGI) advanced by him, different standard] this was 5-4 case; minority for Clear & Convincing (~75%) as standard for defining ill / dangerous