United States v. Lyons

731 F.2d 243, 739 F.2d 994 (1984)

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United States v. Lyons

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
731 F.2d 243, 739 F.2d 994 (1984)

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Facts

Robert Lyons (defendant) was charged with unlawfully obtaining controlled narcotics. Lyons had been prescribed pain-killing narcotics to treat medical conditions and had become addicted. Lyons intended to present an insanity defense based on expert-witness testimony that his addiction had affected his brain physiologically and psychologically to the point that Lyons had lacked substantial capacity to act lawfully. The prosecution moved to exclude evidence of Lyons’s addiction. The trial court granted the motion, effectively preventing Lyons from raising his insanity defense at trial. Lyons was convicted. Lyons appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Initially, a three-judge panel reversed the conviction and ordered a new trial, holding that the jury should decide whether an involuntary drug addiction was a mental disease that could support an insanity defense. However, the Fifth Circuit then agreed to rehear the matter en banc, meaning before the entire court.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Gee, J.)

Dissent (Rubin, J.)

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