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J Am Acad Psychiatry Law. 2008;36(1):95-104.

Revisiting the deific-decree doctrine in Washington state.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA, USA.


The deific-decree exception to Washington's M'Naughten insanity standard first appeared in case law a quarter century ago in State v. Crenshaw. A few subsequent cases have attempted to refine the contours of the deific decree; however, the deific-decree doctrine has had only limited utility as a basis for the insanity defense. After about a decade of no activity in this area, the Washington courts have recently revisited the deific-decree doctrine in a case involving two defendants.

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