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Pollard v. United States

United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
282 F.2d 450 (1960)


In April 1956, while Marmion Pollard (defendant) was on police duty, his wife and daughter were murdered. Following the murders, Pollard became withdrawn, frequently overcome with depression, fatigue, and emotion; he also on numerous occasions threatened to commit suicide. While of a once happy disposition, after the murders Pollard was often expressionless. He began behaving erratically both at work and at home, even threatening his second wife with a gun. About two years after the murders, Pollard attempted to hold up three different banks on the same day and, about a week later, a grocery store. Pollard was eventually arrested and confessed to a total of seven attempted robberies. The United States government (plaintiff) charged Pollard with the crimes. Three psychiatrists, Drs. Milton Palmer, Alfred LaBine, and Herbert Raskin, subsequently examined Pollard Each agreed that at the time of the crimes Pollard suffered from a dissociated reaction and acted under a compulsion of an irresistible impulse. The doctors further agreed that Pollard suffered from severe depression and guilt in connection with the slaying of his wife and child and that he unconsciously hoped to be caught by authorities. Basing its conclusion on lay witnesses’ testimony and its own judgment, the district court determined that contrary to the doctors’ opinions, Pollard did not act under an irresistible impulse. Pollard was convicted, and he appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (McAllister, C.J.)

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