In November 2009, James Kahler shot and killed his wife, his two daughters, and their grandmother. The defense expert testified that, due to Kahler’s mental illness, he did not make the rational choice to kill. Under Kansas law, Kahler could not argue that he was insane as a defense to the charges.
Can Kansas abolish the insanity defense without violating the Constitution? Lisa Soronen, Executive Director of the State and Local Legal Center (SLLC), explains the case of Kahler v. Kansas, which will decide whether a state can abolish the insanity defense without violating the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. Oral argument is October 7, 2019.
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As always, the Federalist Society takes no position on particular legal or public policy issues; all expressions of opinion are those of the speaker.
Learn more about Lisa Soronen:
SCOTUS to Decide Whether States May Abolish the Insanity Defense
Kahler v. Kansas - SCOTUSblog
Kahler v. Kansas - Oyez
Consensus or Confusion: Determining the Constitutionality of the Insanity Defense
The Insanity Defense: A Closer Look
The insanity defense isn’t available in every state. It should be
Can a state abolish the insanity defense?