Hendershott v. People

Supreme Court of Colorado

653 P.2d 385 (Colo. 1982)

A criminal defendant enjoys a due process right to present evidence of mental impairment as proof that he lacks the requisite mens rea for an offense.

Relevant Facts

Hendershott (the defendant) was charged with third degree assault for physically attacking his girlfriend. Prior to trial, the prosecution (the plaintiffs) filed a motion to exclude evidence showing that the defendant had a brain disorder and that he lacked the required mens rea of knowingly or recklessly causing bodily injury.

The trial court granted the motion to exclude, holding that Colorado law permitted the admission of evidence of the defendant’s impaired mental condition in cases involving specific intent crimes, but not for general intent crimes such as third degree assault. The jury convicted the defendant, and the district court affirmed. The defendant appealed to the Supreme Court of Colorado and the court granted certiorari.

Issue

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Holding & Reasoning

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Concurrence

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Dissent

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Last updated:

December 22, 2020

Judicial Opinion

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Procedural History

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Citations

653 P.2d 385 (Colo. 1982)