Recent Court Cases: Mental Illness

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, Plaintiff-Respondent, v. EUGENE C. BAUM (a/k/a EUGENE C. BAUM, JR.), Defendant-Appellant.
A-107 September Term 2013, 073056
SUPREME COURT OF NEW JERSEY
224 N.J. 147; 129 A.3d 1044; 2016 N.J. LEXIS 142
November 10, 2015, Argued
February 8, 2016, Decided

This case is about an appeal by Eugene C. Baum concerning a previous conviction for aggravated manslaughter and death by auto.  Eugene Baum had struck and killed two teenage girls on the night of April 20th, 2006 and when police officers questioned him he told them he had struck a deer.  The appellant was reported that he smelled of alcohol, could not keep his balance, and Baum had an alcohol level between .327 and .377, as he had taken Librium that morning which intensified his intoxication.  His argument during the trial was that he was incapable to act recklessly because of his intoxication, which he stated was involuntary as a result of his alcoholism and depression. The state had an expert testify that alcohol consumption is an intentional action rather than the automatic behavior the appellant argued it was.

The defendant was found guilty on all charges as the jury believed that there was a clear distinction between a mental disease and self-induced intoxication, which was done by the appellant. The reasoning for the decline of the appeal was that mental disease causes a lack of essential cognitive ability, whereas voluntary intoxication suggests recklessness.

https://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/webcast/opinions/ob_a_107_13.pdf

Forensic Summary by Viktor Naumovski

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