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In brief: Unattended van hits fire engine

Tue., Nov. 27, 2012

A Spokane fire engine from Station 4 was damaged Monday morning when it was hit by a courier van outside Deaconess Hospital.

Firefighters were visiting a co-worker at the hospital. When they went back outside, they found the van resting against their truck parked along West Fifth Avenue.

Battalion Chief Bruce Moline said the van crushed some lug nut protective covers on the front wheel and scraped some metal siding.

The driver of the courier van was making a delivery across the street and didn’t set the parking brake, Moline said. The unattended van slowly crossed Fifth and crashed into the engine.

Court rejects right to insanity defense

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court has let stand the murder conviction of a paranoid and delusional Idaho man who was denied the opportunity to mount an insanity defense.

Three justices dissented, arguing that the court should incorporate the long-standing insanity defense into the Constitution.

Soon after John Hinckley Jr. was acquitted of the attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan by reason of insanity in 1982, Idaho, Utah, Kansas and Montana abolished the insanity defense from their criminal laws.

Joseph Delling was a “paranoid schizophrenic” who shot and killed two of his friends because he believed they were “trying to steal his powers,” according to prosecutors.

Delling had carefully planned the murders, and prosecutors successfully argued he had the intent to commit murder, even if he did not understand why it was wrong. Idaho law says “mental condition shall not be a defense to any charge of criminal conduct.”

Delling was sentenced to life in prison, and the state Supreme Court upheld his conviction and sentence last year.

Stanford law professor Jeffrey Fisher appealed Delling’s case to the Supreme Court, contending that an insanity defense is required under the Constitution, either as an aspect of “due process of law” or through the ban on “cruel and unusual punishment.”

But the court turned down Delling’s petition Monday, over dissents by Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor.


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