Understanding the So-Called Twinkie Defense

Understanding the So-Called Twinkie Defense

You may not be amazed to pay attention a defendant in a criminal case make that claim. But what about, “Junk meals made me do it?” Or cough remedy? Or caffeine? Although now no longer in particular common, those forms of arguments are nevertheless made in crook cases. In fact, there’s even a call for such claims—the so-called “Twinkie Defense.”

The phrase “Twinkie Defense” become coined with the aid of using the media in 1978 in insurance of the trial of Dan White, who become charged with homicide for the taking pictures, deaths of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk. However, the Twinkie defense is simply a myth.

As defined with inside the San Francisco Gate, the defense offered proof that White suffered from intellectual infection, consisting of melancholy. A psychiatrist testified that White’s immoderate intake of junk meals consisting of Twinkies exacerbated his signs and symptoms and become evidence of his depressed state.

Twinkie Defense
Twinkie Defense

But the defense by no means claimed that consuming snack desserts placed White in a sugar-precipitated frenzy that drove him to kill Moscone and Milk it become the press that driven that angle. Rather, the real defense within side the case become that White suffered from “dwindled capacity” and acted “within side the warmness of passion.”

The jury seemingly offered this argument and convicted White of voluntary manslaughter in place of homicide.

Despite the truth, the term “Twinkie defense” has turn out to be caught within the public’s creativeness and the media’s vocabulary, basically getting used as shorthand for any defense wherein the accused blames the intake or use of a few substance for their actions.

Since 1978, versions of the Twinkie defense remain made, increasing past junk meals to encompass different substances.

For example, Matthew Phelps, an aspiring pastor in North Carolina, become these days accused of stabbing his spouse Lauren to loss of life. He says that he wakened to discover her protected in blood at the ground however couldn’t don’t forget what befell that night time. Although Phelps believes that he attacked his spouse, he claims that the cough remedy he took to assist him sleep triggered him to black out. On Sept. 25, 2017, Phelps become indicted on first diploma homicide charges.

Blaming cough remedy appears to be a reasonably famous model of the Twinkie defense.

In 2011, Dr. Louis Chen become accused of murdering his accomplice Eric Cooper and their two-year-vintage son. His defense: cough-syrup precipitated psychosis. That is, his legal professionals argued that on the time of the murders, Chen become affected by intellectual fitness problems inclusive of melancholy and paranoia, which have been exacerbated with the aid of using his use of over the counter cough remedy. (Chen in the long run pleaded responsible.)

Also in 2011, James McVay broke into the residence of Maybelle Schein and stabbed her to loss of life. He pleaded responsible however mentally sick to homicide charges. At sentencing, the defense stated that the night time earlier than the homicide, McVay had combined alcohol with cough syrup, which triggered him to go through hallucinations. In addition, the defense claimed that McVay suffered from intellectual infection in addition to alcohol and drug abuse problems.

The jury imposed the loss of life penalty, however McVay devoted suicide in 2014.

Similarly, Shane Tilley stabbed a pal to loss of life even as excessive on cough remedy. At trial, a health practitioner testified that he suffered from a schizoaffective sickness. He become discovered now no longer responsible with the aid of using cause of madness and dispatched to a remedy facility.

Modern variations of the Twinkie defense aren’t restricted to cough remedy.

Kenneth Sands, a bus driving force in Washington, claimed that eating an excessive amount of caffeine forced him to sexually molest 5 women. He argued that he suffered from a bi-polar sickness and that an excessive amount of caffeine triggered a psychotic episode, riding him to behave out of character. He become sentenced to 5 months’ prison.

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) become blamed for James Huberty’s 1984 rampage in a San Ysidro McDonald’s, which left 21 humans useless and 15 wounded. Huberty, who had an extended records of intellectual infection, become killed with the aid of using the police who spoke back to the scene.

Huberty’s widow and youngsters unsuccessfully sued his former organization and McDonald’s, claiming that the MSG in its meals, which Huberty often ate, and numerous heavy metals he become uncovered to as a welder “mixed to purpose the violent outburst.”

These forms of claims can also additionally appear to be self-serving, determined tries to keep away from obligation for terrible acts of violence. But there can be a few validity to them.

For instance, many cough drug treatments includes the element dextromethorphan (DXM). When taken in excessive doses, DXM can purpose mania and hallucinations, and bring about assault, suicide and homicide, says one study. Because cough syrup containing DXM is simple to get, it has turn out to be a famous leisure drug among teenagers.

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