Friday, November 15, 2013

Foucha v. Louisiana case brief

Foucha v. Louisiana case brief summary
504 U.S. 71 (1992)

Petitioner sought review of a decision of the Supreme Court of Louisiana affirming the denial of petitioner's release from a mental institution. The institutionalization resulted from a previous action in which petitioner was found not guilty of criminal actions by reason of insanity.

Petitioner was acquitted of criminal charges by reason of insanity and committed to a mental institution for an indefinite period of time. After several years, it was recommended that petitioner be discharged or released. A release panel determined petitioner was no longer mentally ill.

The trial court appointed a sanity commission that was unable to certify whether petitioner would be a menace to society. The trial court denied petitioner's release and the district court and state supreme court affirmed.


  • On appeal, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed and remanded, reasoning petitioner's rights under the Due Process Clause, U.S. Constitutional amendment XIV, were violated. 
  • The Court reasoned petitioner could only be detained as long as he was mentally ill or posed a danger to society. 
  • The Court held the prosecution failed to establish by clear and convincing evidence that petitioner was a danger to society and, therefore, he was entitled to release.


Judgment of the lower court reversed, because the prosecution failed to meet its burden of proving petitioner was a danger to society and the period of time during which petitioner could be held in a mental institution was measured by whether or not he was mentally ill or dangerous.

Recommended Supplements for Criminal Law

No comments:

Post a Comment

The Evolution of Legal Marketing: From Billboards to Digital Leads Over the last couple of decades, the face of legal marketing has changed a l...