Francisco Duran, who occasionally claimed to be God, said he fired 29 shots through the White House fence to remove a pernicious "mist" that hung over the White House. The prosecutor said he was a disturbed fame-seeker, angry at the government, who could have been faking a mental disorder. That case - and Duran's 1995 conviction - provide the framework for a program on the evolution of the federal insanity defense which the Historical Society will present on Wednesday, April 11, 4:30-6 p.m., in the Ceremonial Courtroom of the E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse.
Stephen J. Morse, Professor of Psychology and Law in Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania , is scheduled to describe the case and the procession of rules governing the defense, followed by a compressed rendition of the closing arguments by the lawyers who made them, then Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Dubelier, now a partner at Reed Smith, and Federal Public Defender for the D.C. Circuit, A.J. Kramer. Dr. Patrick Canavan, Chief Executive Officer at St. Elizabeths, will join these participants on a panel which will assess the success or futility of changes Congress imposed after the John Hinckley case. A reception will follow the program. Everyone is welcome.