Under the Criminal Statute of Maryland, there are many ways by which a crime can be committed. One way of committing a crime is by involuntarily committing an act that constitutes a crime under the law. Another way of committing a crime is by willfully and with knowledge executing an action or series of actions that constitutes a crime under the law. The difference, aside from the gravity of the penalties, is that there is a consideration of the state of mind that a person is in. The law therefore contemplates a situation wherein a person might be acting but not in full possession of his mental faculties.
Under this situation, the law is more lenient and allows for the suspension of the sentence or the mitigation of the penalty imposed. The opposite holds for those, despite prior knowledge of the law, totally disregard such and proceed to commit the crime, in this case manslaughter or first degree murder. The law recognizes the depravity of the act and punishes such accordingly. Under the Criminal Statute of Maryland, state of mind is an essential element of the crime. For manslaughter to be qualified as such or even first degree murder to be called such, it is essential that the perpetrator was of conscious mind when the act was committed.
It will not suffice that he was only partially aware of his actions. As the subsection (b)(1) states, a person will be considered “mentally retarded” and therefore not punishable if it is shown that he/she had a significantly below average intellectual capacity. This is quantified as possessing an IQ of 70 or below as administered in an exam. It is also essential that this mental state was shown before the accused was of twenty-two years of age. In any of these cases, the person cannot be charged or convicted of the crime as charged because of the absence or lack of mental faculties.