Capital Punishment Sentencing-Nursing Paper Examples

Case Scenario (Capital Punishment Sentencing)

The case involves a man, Davis, who had previously been hospitalized with paranoid schizophrenia. As a result, the individual experienced delusions of being executed when serving a jail sentence. The homeless patient stopped taking psychotic medications after the release from jail and later got attacked and beaten by youths. Accompanied by the previous delusions, Davis later attacked two boys, killing one on the assumption that they had returned to complete the execution. The suspect later ended up convicted and sentenced to death (Capital Punishment Sentencing).

Capital Punishment Sentencing
Capital Punishment Sentencing

Key Facts

The key facts of the case include the potential that Davis premeditated the crime by accessing the pipe and hiding in the dark, waiting for assailants. The prosecution can argue that the defendant planned to commit the crime (Kreit, 2022). Besides, the potential that Davis acted voluntarily because the defendant returned to the crime scene and killed the unconscious boy. Returning to the crime scene to finish the job indicates that the defendant was conscious and aware of the consequence of his action, a death sentence (Gordon & Fondacaro, 2018) (Capital Punishment Sentencing).

From this case scenario, the court must establish the role of mental factors like schizophrenia in influencing the defendant into committing the crime. According to Miley et al. (2020), delusion and fear are risk factors for capital crimes among mentally unstable individuals. Finally, it remain mandatory to establish whether Davis recognized that it remain unlawful to commit a crime based on the assumption of potential threats.

Furthermore, Highlighting the cruelty upon commiting the crime remain vital. Davis bludgeoned the 12-year-old boy and continued hitting the lifeless body on police arrival. Lastly, Davis was previously convicted and spent some days behind bars. In this case, arguments can be made on the defendant’s potential to re-offend in the future (Dean et al., 2020). Associations must be drawn to determine the risk factors for the two crimes offenses, to help inform the perception of future re-offending (Capital Punishment Sentencing).

Issues (Capital Punishment Sentencing)

Forensic psychologists profile criminals and prepare testimonies evaluating theories about a crime. In this case, Hollin (2019) observes that preparing testimonies supporting the defendant would involve a comprehensive analysis of the case scenario based on theories and hypotheses. The testimonies will address various issues, such as the criminal act in the crime committed (Capital Punishment Sentencing).

The act describes the crime to determine whether the defendant acted voluntarily (Gordon & Fondacaro, 2018). Davis was under intense mental pressure and delusions following a previous attack. In this case, the defendant acted involuntarily in the murder. Still, on criminal intent, the defendant is not guilty based on the omission to act principle.

The government failed to take appropriate steps to help Davis manage the homelessness and paranoia problem. Hence, despite his initial conviction for trespassing and sleeping in a warehouse. It implies that the prosecution cannot prove causation and harm since the crime remained avoidable if the factors before addressing the like homelessness (Moore, 2019). The defendant ought to receive admission to a mental care facility for rehabilitation (Capital Punishment Sentencing).

Besides, the psychologist must address the issue of attendant circumstances. Miley et al. (2020) observe that attendant circumstances describe the factors available when committing a crime, such as setting and victim characteristics. Davis is innocent based on the concept because of mental instability (van der Wolf & van Marle, 2018). The defendant had stopped taking the antipsychotic medications and was experiencing visual hallucinations and delusions about being executed by people in uniforms.

The condition worsened following a prior attack by youths, compelling the defendant to prepare for a future attack. Additionally, the forensic psychologist must address the concept of concurrence. Gordon and Fondacaro (2018) explain that concurrence requires prosecutors to prove a coexistence between the defendant’s guilty mind and the guilty act. The case of Davis indicates no proof of concurrence since the defendant was fearful and delusional. The defendant was mentally unstable, excluding the guilty mind perspective (Capital Punishment Sentencing).


The client should base the argument on the impact of hallucinations and delusions. Van der Wolf and Van Marle (2018) explain that such factors offenders from conforming behavior based on the requirements of the law. Also, the fear of execution informed the defendant’s actions. Davis hid in the shadows during the evening to avoid getting at the crossroads of the dreadful uniformed youths (Capital Punishment Sentencing).

On the other hand, the defense team must prove that the defendant committed the crime under mental distress. Therefore, intellectual disability does not warrant capital punishment. Instead, the defense team will argue based on the need to rehabilitate the defendant (van der Wolf & van Marle, 2018). Also, they must base their argument on the defendant’s background. Living in the street exposed Davis to risks associated with homelessness, schizophrenic and delusional tendencies.

Additionally, the crime involves issues of abuse defense/excuse. Based on the defendant’s delusional trait, the defense can argue that Davis was acting in self-defense, considering the previous assault by some youths. Therefore, the court must consider the same logic when assessing the defendant throughout every trial stage, like analysis of the crime, trial, and sentencing (Capital Punishment Sentencing).

Lastly, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that Davis is liable for the crime committed. Davis accessed a pipe and hid in the darkness, ready to strike. It indicates that the defendant perceived an imminent threat, proving mental stability. Also, they can argue based on the cruelty and wantonness with which Davis committed the crime. The defendant has a history of committing crimes and would likely re-offend if not convicted (Hwang et al., 2020). Davis should be admitted to mental care and later sentenced to death to reduce the risk of other capital crimes (Capital Punishment Sentencing).


Dean, K., Singh, S., Kemp, R., Johnson, A., & Nielssen, O. (2020). Characteristics and re-offending rates amongst individuals found not guilty because of mental illness (NGMI): a comparison of men and women in a 25-year Australian cohort. International Journal of Forensic Mental Health20(1), 17-30.

Gordon, N. S., & Fondacaro, M. R. (2018). Rethinking the voluntary act requirement: Implications from neuroscience and behavioral science research. Behavioral Sciences & the Law36(4), 426-436.

Hollin, C. R. (2019). Forensic (criminological) psychology. In Companion encyclopedia of psychology (pp. 1231-1253). Routledge. ISBN: 9781315542072

Hwang, Y. I. J., Albalawi, O., Adily, A., Hudson, M., Wand, H., Kariminia, A., … & Butler, T. (2020). Disengagement from mental health treatment and re-offending in those with psychosis: a multi-state model of linked data. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology55, 1639-1648.

Kreit, A. (2022). Criminal law is in focus. New York: Wolters Kluwer. ISBN: 9781543841398

Miley, L. N., Heiss‐Moses, E., Cochran, J. K., Heide, K. M., Fogel, S. J., Smith, M. D., & Bejerregaard, B. J. (2020). An examination of the effects of mental disorders as mitigating factors on capital sentencing outcomes. Behavioral Sciences & the Law38(4), 381-405.

Moore, M. (2019). Causation in the Law. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy,

van der Wolf, M., & van Marle, H. (2018). Legal approaches to the criminal responsibility of mentally disordered offenders in Europe. Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology in Europe: A Cross-Border Study Guide, 31-44. 10.1007/978-3-319-74664-7_3

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