Law professor talks Jenkins trial - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE;

Law professor talks Jenkins trial

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Posted By: Camila Orti

A ruling Thursday deemed Nikko Jenkins competent to stand trial. Now, many questions remain as to what happens next.

Jenkins is facing four counts of first degree murder in Omaha, a crime punishable by the death penalty.

During the process, psychiatrists disagreed on his mental condition. They debated diagnoses like schizophrenia, paranoia and antisocial personality disorder. Some felt he was faking some of the conditions to gain an upper hand on the legal system.

So could we see the insanity defense in this case? UNL Law Professor Bob Schopp says it's a possibility, but a rare one. Statistics show it's only brought up in about 1 percent of cases.

"The public perception of it tends to be grossly out of proportion to how it's actually used," Schopp said, "insanity defenses are not often raised and when they're raised they usually don't work."

Schopp says the defense would have to prove two things if they chose to try and prove Jenkins not guilty by reason of insanity.

"Both that this person has severe mental impairment and that influenced the criminal behavior in a particular way that he was unable to understand the nature and quality or that it was wrongful," Schopp said.

Jenkins has also told media he'd consider representing himself in court, a move Schopp wouldn't recommend.

"Even assuming that particular individual is intelligent and competent, if he's not an experienced criminal trial defense attorney, he's not really in a good position to do that," Schopp said.

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