24 Washburn L.J. 54 (1984-1985)
Criminal Law: Premenstrual Syndrome in the Courts

handle is hein.journals/wasbur24 and id is 70 raw text is: Criminal Law: Premenstrual Syndrome in the Courts?
I. Introduction
II. The Premenstrual Syndrome
A. Definition
B. Incidence and Symptoms
C. Causes of PMS
D. Treatment of PMS
11. Recent Court Decisions Involving PMS
A. Regina v. Craddock
B. Regina P. Smith
C. Regina v. English
D. People v. Santos
IV. PMS in the Criminal Justice System
A. PMS and Criminal Nonresponsibility
1. The M'Naghten Rule
2. The Irresistible Impulse Test
3. The Durham Test
4. The American Law Institute Model Penal Code
5. Diminished Capacity
6. Mitigation
7. The Involuntary Act Defense
B. Mens Rea
1. Application of Mens Rea
2. Application of Frye P. United States
V. Conclusion
On December 16, 1980, a thirty-six year old English woman ended a love
affair by deliberately running down her lover with her car and killing him.,
At trial she pled guilty to manslaughter because of diminished responsibility.2
She was discharged from custody and had her driver's license revoked for one
year. In a separate decision decided one day earlier, Sandie Smith, an East
London barmaid, was placed on probation for carrying a knife and threaten-
ing to kill a policeman,3 though she was already on probation for having
stabbed a fellow barmaid to death.4 In both of these cases the English courts
found that the defendants were suffering from premenstrual syndrome
(PMS),5 and as a result recognized PMS as a mitigating factor in sentencing
these women.6
In the United States, Shirley Santos, charged with child abuse, raised a
1. Regina v. English, an unreported decision decided by the Norwich Crown Court on No-
vember 10, 1981. For a discussion of this case, see Recent Decision, Criminal Law--Premenstrual
Syndrome. A Criminal Defense, 59 NOTRE DAME L. REV. 253, 261 (1983). See also Tybor, Women
on Trial- New Defense, NAT'L L.J., Feb. 15, 1982, at 1, col. 1; N.Y. Times, Dec. 29, 1981, at C3,
col. 5.
2. Diminished responsibility permits a defendant charged with a crime which requires the
accused to possess a specific intent to produce psychiatric testimony tending to show that because
of some mental defect or disorder she or he did not have the state of mind required for convic-
tion. Wallach & Rubin, The Premenstrual Syndrome and Criminal Responsibility, 19 UCLA L.
REV. 209, 263 (1971-72). See infra notes 230-40.
3. Regina v. Smith, No. i/A/82 (Crim. App. Apr. 27, 1982) (LExis, Enggen Library, Cases
4. Regina v. Craddock, an unreported 1981 decision. For a discussion of this case, see
Tybor, supra note 1; Recent Decision, supra note 1, at 258.
5. See infra text accompanying notes 26, 29 & 31.
6. See Tybor, supra note 1; Recent Decision, supra note 1, at 253 & 261.

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