In an op-ed for the Daily Beast, Professor Gerald Shargel explored the case against Arizona shooter Jared Loughner. Loughner, who killed six and wounded thirteen in 2011, was recently found to be competent to stand trial and will choose to plead guilty.
In his article, Professor Shargel explained the three options the defendant and his lawyers could potentially take: pleading not guilty and easily risking the death penalty; pleading insanity and risking a lifetime in a facility for the criminally insane; or pleading guilty.
In the case of a guilty plea, both the defense attorneys and prosecutors gain benefits. “What the defense lawyers obviously want to achieve in this case is agreement by both federal and state prosecutors that they will not seek the death penalty in return for the guilty plea. Loughner will be sentenced instead to a term of life imprisonment of one kind or another with no possibility of parole,” wrote Professor Shargel. “Prosecutors also gain benefits from plea bargaining in circumstances such as these. While an insanity defense may be a steep climb, Loughner’s long and tortured history of mental illness could actually prompt an acquittal by reason of insanity.”
Read the full article.