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Jack Sisson's TBI Blog

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What do those of us who either live with or study brain injuries think about this?

From The Olympian:
Attorney says brain injury impaired client’s ability to know right from wrong

An attorney for a convicted murderer argued in court Monday that his client suffers from diminished capacity to “appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct” due to a traumatic brain injury and is entitled to an exceptional sentence that could shave five years off his prison term.

Michael Kerby, 50, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in February in connection with Gerald Haag’s strangulation death in January 2010 in Haag’s home off 101st Avenue Southwest, south of Tumwater.

Kerby’s attorney, Larry Jefferson, has asked the court to give Kerby a 10-year prison sentence – five years less than what is being asked for by the prosecution.

Jefferson wants Thurston County Superior Court Judge Gary Tabor to give Kerby a sentence below the standard range. Under Washington law, a judge can grant an exceptional downward sentence under certain circumstances.

Jefferson argues in court documents that because of a brain injury Kerby suffered in a 2006 motorcycle accident, his “capacity to appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct or to conform his conduct to the requirements of law was significantly impaired.”

Expert witnesses testified on behalf of the prosecution and defense during Monday’s hearing. The hearing will continue at 1:30 p.m. today.

A defense expert wrote a report indicating that Kerby had suffered “a severe head injury with ‘bilateral frontal lobe contusions’” and that he “bruised the part of his brain responsible for thinking, reasoning and problem-solving,” court papers state.

“It has been established that Mr. Kerby was a law-abiding individual that supported himself and his family before his brain injury,” Jefferson wrote. “After his motorcycle accident he lost everything. He went from being a law-abiding person to a homeless veteran, brain-damaged and with no family support.”

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