VASMIE seeks a legal exclusion which protects those with SMI who don’t fit the very narrow insanity defense but have major mental impairments that make them undeserving of the death penalty. In the 2016 legislation, SMI was defined as:
- appreciate the nature, consequences, or wrongfulness of the person’s conduct;
- exercise rational judgment in relation to the person’s conduct; or
- conform the person’s conduct to the requirements of the law.
“Severe mental illness” does not include a disorder manifested primarily by repeated criminal conduct or attributable to the acute effects of voluntary use of alcohol or any drug.”