Judges Gavel

A federal judge will decide whether a man who allegedly sent bomb plans to a federal informant is mentally competent. If the judge deems the man is not mentally competent, then the 20-year-old man will not have to stand trial for allegedly orchestrating a terrorist attack on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

Sent Bomb Plans to FBI Informant

Joshua Goldberg has been charged with the distribution of plans for weapons of mass destruction and explosives to an informant working with the FBI. The hearing to decide the man's competency to stand trial was scheduled to take place at 10 a.m. Monday in federal court in Jacksonville, Florida.

In Early December, a psychologist deemed Goldberg mentally incompetent to stand for trial. The psychologist claimed that Goldberg has a mental disorder that prevents him from knowing what is actually happening around him.

The FBI claims that Goldberg ordered attacks against a drawing contest in Garland, Texas, that was to feature pictures of the Prophet Muhammad. Allegedly, he also bragged of planning attacks against Australian synagogues. Authorities took him into custody last September.

Insanity as a Criminal Defense

Insanity is a common defense against all sorts of criminal allegations. If it can be proved -- usually with evidence from psychological evaluations -- that an individual who allegedly committed a crime was mentally incompetent, then the person may not have to stand trial for the crimes.

In certain situations, the defendant who is proved to be insane or mentally incompetent might be found guilty, but receive a reduced punishment as a result of the mental impairment. What is key in these cases is that defendants show that they were unaware of their actions at the time the crime was committed, did not know right from wrong, were acting as a result of an uncontrollable impulse, or a combination of these factors.