An Inhuman Dopamine Defense

The Inhumans on Agents of SHIELD have a serious problem: the Inhuman Hive can infect any Inhuman, effectively turning them into his personal flying monkeys. Hive effectively makes Inhumans loyal to him through a viral infection that stimulates dopamine in the brains of his victims. Since the former Grant Ward is one creepy ancient alien, his apparent goal for world domination is to turn all of humanity into Inhumans, activating the Inhuman genes within the population with Terrigen Crystals, and turning all of the world into his personal flying monkeys. Since Terrigen is involved, that could be a literal threat.

Could the Inhumans infected by Hive argue the insanity defense if they are eventually cured? For this argument to be successful, the Inhuman Defendants would have to show 1) they had a severe mental disease or defect; and 2) As a result, they unable to appreciate the nature and quality or the wrongfulness of his acts. (See, Model Jury Instruction for the Insanity Defense for the 9th Circuit).

Medical evidence would show the Inhumans had a mental disease from the virus within their brains. This infection caused an undue influence on them, thus impairing their judgment, thus they did not know the wrongfulness of their actions.

There are some problems with this defense, as evidenced with Daisy confronting Fitz. Daisy physically assaulted Fitz and verbally threatened him to not follow her. This shows that she did at least understand her actions could harm Fitz and made the threat against him (and by extension all of SHIELD). This shows some knowledge of right from wrong.

The defense of “involuntary intoxication” might be a stronger defense than the insanity defense. Expert testimony in prior cases has explained the effect of medication on the brain’s neurochemistry as follows:

…[T]he level of dopamine in the brain affects a person’s behavior and “probably has one of the most profound effects on human emotion and behavior.” Increases in dopamine can cause one to “feel more agitated, irritable, anxious, sleepless; keep turning it up and up you can get manic; keep turning it up and up you can get psychotic.”

United States v. MacDonald (C.A.A.F. 2014) 73 MJ 426, 432.)

Involuntary intoxication has a two-part test: 1) Involuntary ingestion of an intoxicant; 2) Due to this ingestion, defendant was unable to appreciate the nature and quality or wrongfulness of his acts. MacDonald, at *437.

Hive’s influence on Inhumans would require a hybrid defense between the insanity defense and involuntary intoxication, because Hive IS the intoxicant. The defenses are substantially different, but so is the effect of Hive on Inhumans. The infected parties undertake actions due to their dopamine levels, which cause a change in personality. This defense likely would be successful, but would expert testimony to explain how Hive impacts the neurochemistry of the Inhuman brain.

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