From Insanity Defense to Guilty Verdict – A Defense Expert's Perspectives on the Philip Chism Trial

In the tense few days before the Philip Chism verdict was read, I spoke to several Boston Media outlets about the trial, contributing my expertise both as a former homicide prosecutor and insanity defense expert. On Monday I spoke to The Boston Herald about the defense’s "uphill battle" in a state that has traditionally been unforgiving of insanity defenses, and in the light of the prosecution's evidence of Chism's malingering on psychiatric tests. The defense’s case may have been faltering, but I was careful to emphasize that "legally, the burden is not on the defense to prove [Chism] was mentally ill when he killed Ritzer, 24, but on the state to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he wasn't." On CBS Boston Radio I provided in-depth analysis of the case, discussing Chism's charges and the changes in sentencing laws for young offenders. I also appeared live on air with Fox25 News Boston to comment on the case. Chism’s lawyers were back in court today representing their client on a youthful indictment of attempted murder, assault and kidnapping charges in a separate incident that took place in a Department of Youth Services facility in Dorchester. Though justice cannot compensate the Ritzer family for the terrible loss that they have endured, and courageously spoken about, it’s clear that the jurors found the State’s case against the defense adequate to pronounce Philip Chism guilty. Read one of my past blogs on insanity defenses.