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Naked home invader may prevail with criminal defense of insanity

When a criminal perpetrator inexplicably places himself in a decidedly outnumbered and inferior position physically, considerations of insanity, drunkenness and drugs are generally the main culprits to consider. Criminal defense counsel will likely be looking at those factors in trying to frame a defense for a 19-year-old man who allegedly broke into a New Hampshire residence in Hampton and began fighting with the residents. He was also buck naked when he did it.

The police reportedly found the man visibly injured with facial wounds when they answered the call. This could hardly be called a home invasion, at least in the traditional way in which the term is used. Here, it appears that the only person in danger was the perpetrator himself. Police indicate that his facial bruises were all self-inflicted, thus further eliciting theories of an incompetent mental condition on the man's part.

The intrusion occurred at 1:50 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 13. There is no evidence thus far indicating that the man, who is from Massachusetts, knew the residents of the home he invaded. There are also no details available to explain why he fought with the residents or why he chose to harm himself. 

In addition, there is no indication at this point why the man had no clothing. Police charged him with burglary, simple assault, criminal mischief, resisting arrest and indecent exposure. Due to the usual treatment of burglary as a felony, the man faces some stringent sentencing exposure in the matter.

That is all the more reason for criminal defense counsel to explore the insanity defense under New Hampshire law. Even if the man was impaired by drugs or alcohol, the effects here seem to exceed the parameters of chemical impairment. Here, mental derangement of some sort may be likely. That strategy will require the retention of a medical expert to testify on the insanity defense. Another viable strategy may be to seek a medical outcome that will substitute treatment, therapy or even a mental commitment, instead of the damaging alternative of imprisonment.

Source:, "Police: Naked man broke into home, fought with residents", Aug. 10, 2016

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