Paper Assignment # 2 (Total 50 points)
Larry Loser has been arrested and charged with possessing a small amount of heroin. On two prior occasions in the preceding ten years, he was convicted of possessing about the same amount of heroin. On three occasions during this time, he was arrested for heroin possession, but the charges were suppressed following a finding that the police had violated his Fourth Amendment rights in obtaining the heroin.
The state of Jay, the jurisdiction where Larry has been charged, has a criminal statute that prohibits possession of the amount of heroin he is said to have possessed. There is no provision in Jay statutes that recognizes an excuse from criminal liability for possessing heroin.
Nonetheless, Loser’s lawyer, Stanley Sleazebag, argues at Loser’s trial that his client cannot reasonably be held liable, and punished, for possessing heroin in the quantity charged. No one has ever claimed that Loser is a drug trafficker, Sleazebag points out. The only issue before the court, Sleazebag contends, is whether to punish someone for conduct he hasn’t the capacity to refrain from engaging in. Sleazebag proposes to ask a psychiatrist, Harry Hired gun, to testify that Loser is an addict incapable of controlling his behavior. Once Hired gun testifies, Sleazebag says, he’ll ask the judge to instruct the jury that they should acquit Loser if they find he hadn’t the capacity to conform to the requirements of law.
On hearing this motion, the prosecutor in the case, Zelda Zealot, moves to prevent Hired gun from testifying. No such defense to criminal liability is available in the state of Jay, she notes, so she claims the judge should not recognize it. In any event, if Hired gun actually is permitted to testify, Zealot says, she’ll summon Darryl Duelist, a psychiatrist regularly retained by the state. She expects he will testify that, though an addict, Loser had the capacity to refrain from buying and consuming heroin.
You are the judge presiding over the case. Write a memorandum of no more than 2 pages double-spaced in which you determine the merits of Sleazebag’s motion to introduce Hired gun’s testimony. If you draw on remarks made by one of the judges in Moore, be sure to credit that judge with appropriate citations.