Nevada legislators are reviewing state laws regarding the insanity defense in criminal cases and misuse of the early release program by the Department of Corrections, says the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “This is a starting point,” said Assemblyman William Horne, chairman of the Legislative Commission’s new subcommittee formed in the 2005 session.
Robbin Trowbridge-Benko traveled her home in Indiana to ask the panel to reform state laws regarding criminal insanity pleas. Her son, John Trowbridge, 23, was stabbed to death by a man who later was found not guilty by reason of insanity. Trowbridge-Benko successfully opposed his release. Under Nevada law, a person found not guilty by reason of insanity can be held only until no longer determined to be a “mentally ill person.” In a hearing yesterday, she suggested that the panel look at separating the issues of guilt and mental competence. She advocated a bifurcated process where jurors first decide guilt or innocence and then go on to hear arguments on a defendant’s mental state.