House Committee Passes 'Guilty But With Mental Defect' Bill

Tuesday, March 29th 2016, 6:48 pm
By: Aaron Brilbeck

A House committee unanimously passed a bill creating a "guilty but with mental defect" plea Tuesday. 

It's considered an alternative for people who are found guilty with mental illness but also have an antisocial personality disorder. 

What it means is that those suspects can't use a "not guilty by reason of insanity plea," essentially closing a loophole that allows violent offenders to avoid long prison sentences.

“I think it’s going to be a very limited case that somebody will be found guilty but mentally ill, instead of not guilty by reason of insanity," said Oklahoma County Chief Public Defender Bob Ravitz. “I think it’s addressing the concerns of the public and at the same time preserving an important defense for those that are mentally ill and insane at the time of the acts.”

The legislation would close loopholes in the law that allow a person found not guilty of a crime by reason of insanity to potentially go free.  

Under the bill, a person who is found "guilty but with mental defect" could still be sent to prison. 

Backers said the bill only targets the most violent offenders that can’t be treated. 

It now goes to the full state House of Representatives for a vote.