The Current (post-2004 Amendment) Manual Standard

bestmilitarydefenseucmjdefenselawyer257A mental condition notamounting to a lack of mental responsibility (i.e., a finding of not guilty only by reason of lack of mental responsibility) is not an affirmative defense, but may be admissible to determine whether the accused entertained the state of mind necessary to prove an element of the offense. In other words, partial mental responsibility is not an affirmative defense, but it is a deficiency of the government proof of a necessary element (e.g., specific intent).

  1. Instruction on Partial Mental Responsibility. DA PAM 27-9, instruction 6-5. Theaffirmative defense of insanity and the defense of partial mental responsibility are separate defenses, but the panel members may consider the same evidence with respect to both defenses. With regard to partial mental responsibility, the burden never shifts from the government to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the accused entertained the mental state necessary for the charged offense.
  2. However, not all psychiatric evidence is now admissible. The evidence still must berelevant and permitted by UCMJ art. 50a.
    1. General intent crime. The psychiatric evidence must still rise to the level of a “severe mental disease or defect.” The insanity defense cannot be resurrected under another guise. UCMJ art. 50a.
    2. Specific intent crime. The psychiatric evidence must be relevant to the mens rea element.

General intent crime

Specific intent crime