Bingham Wants Insanity Law Changed - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

4/5/04 - Tyler

Bingham Wants Insanity Law Changed

The Deanna Laney case may prompt some changes in the law. The lead prosecutor, District Attorney Matt Bingham, says Laney's verdict of "not guilty by reason of insanity" should instead be "guilty but insane." But that verdict does not exist in Texas.

"The verdicts that are available for the juries today are guilty, not guilty, or not guilty by reason of insanity," Bingham said. "And by saying 'not guilty by reason of insanity,' what the jury is saying is, we believe that she did it, but we also believe that the defense has proven by preponderance that she was insane."

Bingham says the "guilty but insane" verdict would allow punishment and mental treatment for the convicted criminal. He plans to submit a bill proposal soon to state representatives. Several states already have laws allowing such a verdict.

Julie Tam, reporting.

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