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2004

Boston College Law Review

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A Rude Awakening: What To Do With The Sleepwalking Defense?, Mike Horn Dec 2004

A Rude Awakening: What To Do With The Sleepwalking Defense?, Mike Horn

Boston College Law Review

Some sleepwalkers commit acts of violence, or even murder, in their sleep. Courts must decide what to do with criminal defendants who raise a defense of sleepwalking. A brief review of common law reveals that courts apply the defense inconsistently under various doctrines of justification and excuse. Sleepwalking is a unique medical phenomenon, and courts are poorly equipped to evaluate claims of sleepwalking under existing common law defenses. This Note proposes a single sleepwalking defense based on a balancing test that integrates the medical understanding of sleepwalking.