Update: Caffeine/Sleep-Deprivation Defense Fails

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Reports last week were that the lawyer for Woody Will Smith would argue that Smith was not responsible for murdering his wife because he had done so while suffering from a "brief psychosis" due to lack of sleep and heavy caffeine use. See "Not Guilty by Reason of Caffeine," Lowering the Bar (Sept. 20, 2010). It appears that this strategy evolved a bit before and during trial, but it still didn't work.

Smith's lawyer told the jury that his client had not been sleeping partly because he was afraid his wife was having an affair (she was) and was planning to leave him and take the kids. But there was no mention of the argument apparently raised in pre-trial filings that the massive amount of caffeine Smith was allegedly consuming was itself responsible for the brief psychosis, justifying a temporary-insanity defense.

Smith did testify in his own defense, and said he didn't remember anything from that day. Among the things he had forgotten: his taped confession, during which he had admitted arguing with his wife and said that he wasn't going to let her leave the house alive. (It was probably a bit awkward when that was played in court for the jury.) After the argument, he then (I assume) ran down to Starbucks and guzzled a couple of venti espressos, and the rest is history.

On Friday, September 25, the jury found Smith guilty of murder after deliberating for just 90 minutes. He will likely be sentenced to life in prison, where maybe he will finally be able to get some sleep.