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Lawyer’s Attack May Be Defended as Involuntary Intoxication
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involuntary intoxication

Photo courtesy of the Fairfax County Police Department

Summary: A lawyer intends to use the involuntary intoxication defense to explain why his client, a lawyer, attacked and tortured another lawyer.

While the details of this lawyer on lawyer attack seem incredible, the proposed defense of it in court may be even more so. On November 9, 2014, Andrew Schmuhl is accused of attacking Leo Fisher, and Fisher’s wife, Sue Duncan, after Schuhl’s wife, Alecia, was fired from Fisher’s firm. In light of the bizarre nature of the attack, his lawyer may change their plea from not guilty by reason of insanity to involuntary intoxication.


Andrew appeared at Fisher’s house garbed as an officer, and after being greeted at the door, burst in and stunned Fisher with a Taser, bound him up and slit his throat. He also shot Duncan in the head. As the bullet only grazed her head, she was nevertheless able to activate a panic alarm, and Schmuhl fled the scene. His wife allegedly had been outside the entire time communicating to him with a phone. Andrew was soon found by police dressed only in a diaper.

The defense is claiming that Schmuhl suffered from a mental illness, and the medication he took to treat it intoxicated him in a way he did not expect.

Criminal defense attorney Peter Greenspun, who is not connected with the case, said, “It’s going to be a very tough burden for the defense. If it’s the wrong medication or he was misprescribed or he, for some reason, didn’t know what he was taking, then it’s certainly a fair argument.” The name of the drug in question hasn’t been disclosed.

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The defense, rare enough in itself, is usually used when a drug has been slipped unknowingly into a drink.

As for the hours of torture Schmuhl committed, it will be harder to argue that he was intoxicated, as the attack was carefully executed.

The trial was initially set for January 19, but that date will be used merely to set the new trial date, as it was postponed to wait for DNA results. Items tested include bottles of Nyquil, a box of Benadryl and two empty plastic bottles containing rubbing alcohol and gasoline.

Defense lawyer Brad Haywood hasn’t confirmed whether he will claim Schmuhl’s mental state at the time of the attack met the definition for insanity or whether he would prefer the involuntary intoxication defense. Prosecutors have filed to press the defense into explaining what mental health experts they intend to use to evaluate Schmuhl’s behavior.

News source: NBC


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