Former porn star Ron Jeremy has been declared mentally incompetent to stand trial by the judge presiding over his case. He faced dozens of rape charges but was only recently in the news after victims came out to share their stories. A judge declared that he was in “incurable neurocognitive decline,” and his condition was unlikely to improve. Prosecutors have asked that Jeremy be routinely reevaluated in case his condition improves. A hearing deciding Jeremy’s fate will be held later. He is likely to end up in a state hospital.
Jeremy pleaded not guilty after a grand jury indicted him on 34 counts of sexual assault. 12 of those counts included allegations of forcible rape. His defense attorney stated that he believed Jeremy would be found innocent of the charges. He expressed regret that Jeremy would not have the chance to defend himself in a court of law.
The law requires those who are facing charges to understand the charges filed against them and be able to participate in their own defense. The court ruled that Jeremy did not understand the charges against him due to his health and could not participate in his own defense. This is different than an insanity plea. Below, we’ll discuss the case in more detail.
Competency Hearings vs. Insanity Pleas
The law requires that any individual who is charged with a crime understand the nature of the offense against them. They must also be able to participate in their own defense. This is different than an insanity plea in a criminal trial. Insanity pleas are very difficult to win, especially in cases of rape. The defendant must establish that they are not guilty because they didn’t understand that what they were doing was wrong at the time of the crime. In most cases, those who plead insanity may not face prison sentences, but they do face lengthy stays in forensic wards for psychiatric patients. Their stay would end when the psychiatrists at the facility felt that the defendant was safe to return to public life. This could be never, or it could be a couple of years.
A competency hearing is quite different. The court must rule that the defendant cannot understand the nature of the crimes he is charged with or participate in his own defense. In the case mentioned above, the defendant was ostensibly mentally competent when he allegedly committed the sexual assaults. So, he would not be able to plead insanity to the charges. Instead, the court ruled that the defendant could not currently stand trial due to a health-related condition that rendered him mentally incompetent.
The big issue is that the victims will never receive a chance to vent their complaints against Jeremy in open court. Jeremy is unlikely to stand trial for these offenses unless his condition improves. At that point, he would not be able to plead insanity to the charges.
Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
David Freidberg represents the interests of those charged with sex crimes in Chicago. Call our office today at (312) 560-7100 to schedule an appointment, and we can begin defending you from these very serious charges right away.