Diminished Capacity

Definition - What does Diminished Capacity mean?

Diminished capacity refers to a reduced level of intellectual ability, which can potentially impact whether a person possesses the intent to commit a crime.

If a person is proven to have a diminished capacity at the time of the crime, then their sentence can be significantly less severe.

Justipedia explains Diminished Capacity

There are a number of things that can cause diminished capacity. For example, mental illness or traumatic brain injuries can cause diminished capacity.

Perhaps the most famous instance of diminished capacity used as a defense in a court case was the so-called "twinkie defense," used by defense attorneys for San Francisco County Supervisor, Dan White, after he murdered politicians Harvey Milk and George Mascone while on a twinkie-heavy diet. The defense successfully argued that the twinkle diet altered White's mental status enough for it to be diminished. The result was that White was charged with manslaughter and not murder.

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