United States v. Lewellyn

723 F.2d 615 (1983)

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United States v. Lewellyn

United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
723 F.2d 615 (1983)

Facts

Gary Lewellyn (defendant) was convicted for embezzling $17 million in cash and securities from Iowa banks while he was a stockbroker. Lewellyn tried raising an insanity defense by reason of pathological gambling, using the American Law Institute (ALI) test, by presenting expert testimony that his condition caused him to lack the substantial capacity to conform his behavior to the law. To support his assertion, Lewellyn presented expert testimony from a psychologist and a psychiatrist, who used the recent inclusion of pathological gambling as a disease in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) as the basis for their testimonies. Both witnesses testified that some pathological gamblers lack substantial capacity to refrain from committing fraud, forgery, and embezzlement, although the DSM did not go that far. The DSM noted that patients with the illness lacked the capacity to resist the impulses to gamble, which could lead to antisocial behavior such as forgery, fraud, or embezzlement for more money to gamble. Given that the condition was newly recognized, the psychologist testified that few psychologists had experience treating the condition, he was the only one he knew to treat the condition full-time, and there was a general ignorance among psychologists regarding the condition. The psychiatrist testified that few doctors knew about the condition and that lots of time had to been spent with a suffering patient to understand the illness due to lack of scientific evidence. A United States (plaintiff) district judge ruled that Lewellyn had not met the ALI test for insanity and could not use it as a defense. Lewellyn appealed his conviction, arguing that the district court erred in precluding his insanity defense.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Fagg, J.)

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