Diminished Capacity (Diminished Responsibility)

Diminished capacity or diminished responsibility is a legal term which refers to a below average mental ability which is used as a partial defense in court proceedings. This is based on the premise that individuals with diminished capacity do not have the usual cognitive skills needed in planning and executing a crime; hence, the defendant may be convicted of a less hefty offense.

For instance, a person with an intellectual disability may be sentenced to life imprisonment instead of being given the death penalty.

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