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Supreme Court poised to take a deeper look at “insanity” in criminal law

August 5, 2019

Kraig Kahler faces the death penalty for murdering his wife, his two daughters and his wife’s grandmother. According to the record, Kahler’s issues began with his wife taking a lesbian lover. Kahler initially agreed, in hopes he could be a part of the action, but at some point he got jealous. The wife left him. Unable to handle the mental strain, Kahler killed everyone except his son at a Thanksgiving get-together. Feel free to Google the guy for more about the emotional story.

Having been sentenced to death, Kahler now appears at the Supreme Court arguing Kansas’s criminal law is unconstitutional. Kahler wants to seek relief from the death penalty by way of “insanity.” Psychological reports show Kalher suffering from narcissism, histrionic personality disorder and obsessive compulsions.

In many states, Kahler could argue for the “insanity” defense based on his illnesses, but not in Kansas. In the 1990’s Kansas decided it doesn’t want to give murderers a chance to prove they didn’t really “appreciate” the wrongfulness of their actions.

In the upcoming term, the Supreme Court will determine if Kansas’s “mens rea” approach is constitutional.


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