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Sleepwalking, Automatisms, Violence and the Law -poster

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Abstract:

Sleepwalking and related disorders are considered to be automatisms for legal purposes. An otherwise criminal act committed while sleepwalking is not considered criminal because the sleepwalker cannot form the requisite criminal intent or mens rea. Sleepwalking and related disorders have been used - often successfully - as defenses for violent acts including murder, attempted murder, assault and rape for at least 200 years. In recent years the number of cases invoking a sleepwalking defense has significantly increased. State of the art research on the pathophysiology of sleepwalking has also increased significantly in the last 10 years and is inconsistent with theories and evidence presented at trials in the past. Additionally, laws regarding automatisms continues to reflect 19th century legal thinking and out dated psychological theoryies. This paper will review the current state of the art research and legal thinking in sleepwalking and automatism defenses. The role of the expert witness in this type of case will be discussed with case reports.
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Association:
Name: American Psychology - Law Society
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http://www.ap-ls.org/


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p405894_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Pressman, Mark. "Sleepwalking, Automatisms, Violence and the Law -poster" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychology - Law Society, Westin Bayshore Hotel, Vancouver, BC, Canada, Mar 17, 2010 <Not Available>. 2014-11-28 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p405894_index.html>

APA Citation:

Pressman, M. R. , 2010-03-17 "Sleepwalking, Automatisms, Violence and the Law -poster" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychology - Law Society, Westin Bayshore Hotel, Vancouver, BC, Canada <Not Available>. 2014-11-28 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p405894_index.html

Publication Type: Poster
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: Sleepwalking and related disorders are considered to be automatisms for legal purposes. An otherwise criminal act committed while sleepwalking is not considered criminal because the sleepwalker cannot form the requisite criminal intent or mens rea. Sleepwalking and related disorders have been used - often successfully - as defenses for violent acts including murder, attempted murder, assault and rape for at least 200 years. In recent years the number of cases invoking a sleepwalking defense has significantly increased. State of the art research on the pathophysiology of sleepwalking has also increased significantly in the last 10 years and is inconsistent with theories and evidence presented at trials in the past. Additionally, laws regarding automatisms continues to reflect 19th century legal thinking and out dated psychological theoryies. This paper will review the current state of the art research and legal thinking in sleepwalking and automatism defenses. The role of the expert witness in this type of case will be discussed with case reports.


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