Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Probating an Insanity Defense

Joshua Hoge locked up in Western State Hospital in Tacoma Washington. In 1999 he stabbed his mother and brother to death with a butcher knife. He was found not guilty by reason of insanity and now he is fighting to inherit part of his mother's estate.

While some states have decided whether people found not guilty by reason of insanity can inherit the estates of their victims, Washington has not.

The case was set to be decided last month by the Washington state Court of Appeals. But the appellate court sent it back to King County Superior Court, which originally decided Hoge could not inherit money from Kissinger. The appellate court said the King County court made a mistake in its original determination and must reconsider the case. No date has been set.

The main issue in the case that has not been settled by statute is, can a person found not guilty of murder by reason of insanity be considered a slayer? Arguments were heard on February 12th and no decision has yet been issued.

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