A defendant does not have to assert the insanity defense in order to plead guilty but mentally ill

Commonwealth v Andrews, 2017 PA Super. 91 (April 7, 2017)

Mr. Andrews was tried and convicted of stabbing his neighbor to death after a verbal confrontation with her. He thought she looked down on him, and the confrontation inflamed his feelings towards her. He was found at the scene and immediately confessed. He proceeded to trial, and offered a diminished capacity defense, which was rejected, and convicted of first degree murder and burglary. His conviction was affirmed on appeal.

Mr. Andrews thereafter filed a PCRA petition alleging that he received ineffective assistance of counsel because his lawyer did not advise him to plead guilty but mentally ill, which if successful (he alleged), would have entitled him to psychiatric treatment while serving his life sentence. Following the procedures set forth in Pa.R,Crim.Pro 907, the Commonwealth obtained dismissal of the petition without a hearing because Mr. Andrews did not allege that he could prove he was insane. The Superior Court reversed, because acceptance of a plea of guilty but mentally ill, governed by 18 Pa.C.S. §314(b), does not require an allegation or proof of insanity. The case was remanded for further proceedings.

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