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71-year-old woman hammered with charges

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It may be safe to say that the majority of people that are of sound mind do not go on destructive hammer-wielding rampages through the neighborhood.

Last week, Houston law enforcement was advised that a 71-year-old woman did just that. The woman was reportedly thrusting a hammer at parked cars and hitting a neighbor who was walking her dog. When the Houston SWAT team arrived at the home of the woman, she apparently refused to exit her home after orders to do so by the police. After four hours passed with no end in sight, the SWAT team forced entry and arrested the woman on aggravated assault charges.

In Texas, mental illness can be a defense for criminal charges. In certain instances, when a crime has been committed, a plea of insanity can be issued. In Texas, the proof of insanity rests of the defense. Evidence would suggest that this woman may not have been of sound mind at the time of the incident. She was subsequently admitted to a psychiatric hospital. If the woman is deemed mentally ill at the time of the incident, she should not be held to the same standards as most individuals.

If the accused was not of sound mind at the time of the offense, an experienced defense advocate will include an insanity defense in response to criminal charges. A criminal conviction on an assault charge imparts serious consequences on the accused. The accused should not necessarily be held criminally responsible for something the person did not intend to do. The outcome of the litigation surrounding this woman's defense has yet to be determined.

Source: KHOU News, "Woman arrested, charged with aggravated assault after SWAT standoff," April 4, 2012

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