Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Caffeine Crazy? - Only in America

Have you heard of the latest criminal defence/defense plea in the USA? Unfit to stand trial because of caffeine-induced psychosis. And it appears to have worked in a recent case.

Defendant Daniel Noble ran over two pedestrians on the way to work then made a speedy getwaway. He had not been drinking but appeared anxious. He was charged with vehicular assault and hit-and-run, but his lawyer claimed his client had suffered from 'caffeine psychosis' and should not be held criminally responsible.(The average person consumes about 200 mg of caffeine a day and Noble may have been been drinking up to ten times the average.)

The judge agreed and dropped all charges, despite the fact that the victims both had broken bones and required lengthy treatments.

Experts have ratified this defence by stating the bleeding obvious quite frankly, - that coffee drinkers may experience nervousness, excitement, insomnia, flushed face and the like, if they drink too much. Ya think?

Here's what I think:-

Most people know that caffeine has some effect on humans. Some people can't even drink one cup without going all hyper. If you choose to drink large quantities of coffee, shouldn't you bear the responsibiltiy for any subsequent weird or deviant behaviour?

Over the years in both Britain and the States, drunkenness has not been allowed as a defence for most crimes. If you choose to down two gallons of vodka then beat someone up, rob next door's or get in your car, you can't stand there and say you didn't know what you were doing because you were pissed as a fart. (In most cases. It can get a bit technical with the "intent" bit). And that's as it should be.

So why the heck is it OK to rely on the over-caffeinated defence? I just don't get it.

There's another, more serious, case employing the same strategy. This time it's a Kentucky man accused of murdering his wife. The legal defence claim is that Woody Will Smith, (what a name) had so many sodas, energy drinks and diet pills that he couldn't have knowingly killed his wife; that the caffeine made him unable to commit the crime.

Fer cryin' out loud! I will be watching this case with interest and disbelief!

This in a country that recently executed a women said to be borderline retarded.




  1. I'd have to agree with you but and there is always a but I don't think people really know how much caffeine affects them, let alone realise how much they consume.
    I have just given up ALL caffeine and I was amazed how many drinks and even some food I had to stop taking including chocolate, most fizzy drinks/soda, tea, coffee of course and other energy foods.
    I did it to help me with my depression and I am stunned but how much better I feel, how goo d my skin is and even how much better I sleep. I had a coffee the other day and I felt dreadful, sick and sweaty and eugh! Never again!

  2. I do so agree with you. No one should be that high on anything that the don't know what they are doing even caffeine and coke. No excuses.We all have a choice.

    I was very saddened to hear of that lady being executed. It should never have happened.
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

  3. Right you are!

    It's right to liken it to drinking, or smoking pot, or any other mind-altering behavior.

  4. That's a bonkers defence.

    If they are saying that coffee is a drug that affects driving, then the punishment should be similar to, say, taking drugs or drinking - or indeed, chatting on a mobile.

    And, if anyone is drinking so much coffee that they are sent pyschotic, they clearly have a problem in the first place and should probably not be driving a car anyway....

  5. It does make you wonder doesn't it. I do love this country I've chosen to live in, but sometimes the stuff you hear/read about does make you scratch your head a bit. Bad enough for the lawyer to have the balls to use caffeine as a defense argument, but for the flipping judge to agree! That's ridiculous.

  6. That's insane. I once went to a filming of a chat show where Germaine Greer was defending a woman who committed murder due to PMS. What the ****?!

  7. The only thing about other "insanity" defences (including PMS) is that they're not self inflicted.
    When you imbibe, smoke, inject something that you know can have a negative impact on your reasoning, the influence you find yourself under shouldn't then be your defence.

  8. Please don't tell me stuff like that. I find myself turning into Victor Meldrew.

  9. Ha! I just agree with footballers knees - it makes be feel like having a grumpy old rant! Maybe there should be salutary warnings on coffee jars/packs in future - drinking this may cause eratic behaviour. I'm off to have a de-caff!

  10. Er. Erm. Cappuccino = little hoodie. Didn't realise it meant that as well. I shall look at them in a different light now!

  11. un-Ber-Lievable. Barking mad. I despair. Why can't peopel take repsonsibility for their own actions?? Blame culture gone stark raving mad. Sorry. I'll calm down now. & no not had any caffeine today. that wa sjust me getting totally unassistedly mad

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