Bruce Banner is a particularly interesting character from a legal perspective as he suffers from temporary insanity that he can make efforts to prevent by controlling his anger. So could he be held responsible for any crimes he performed as The Hulk? Vista defense lawyer Peter M. Liss explains the fascinating challenges involved in evaluating Banner’s guilt for actions he took while he was overtaken by The Hulk.
It’s worth noting that while different writers have given Bruce Banner differing levels of control over his Hulk state, this article will only be discussing The Hulk that has a similar relationship of Mr. Hyde to Dr. Jeckyll -a character that is totally uncontrolled by his creator’s mind. Obviously, Bruce Banner could plead insanity as he is not in control of his actions when The Hulk takes over his body. As we discussed when we mentioned Bucky’s role as the Winter Soldier, a Vista criminal defense lawyer can only prove an insanity defense by showing his client has a mental disease or defect that prevented him or her from distinguishing right from wrong and knowing or understanding the nature or quality of his or her illegal actions. Having an entirely different entity live inside you and take control of your body would certainly count as a mental defect and since Banner is unaware of The Hulk’s actions during his rage phase, that would certainly qualify him for the knowledge aspect of the insanity defense.
Generally, Vista criminal defense attorneys are reluctant to use the insanity defense because even if it is successful, their client will still be sentenced to treatment at a mental health hospital. Because the treatment phase lasts until doctors believe the patient is actually cured, studies have often showed that those who use the insanity defense spend more time institutionalized than they would have if they were sent to prison. In the case of The Hulk vs. Bruce Banner though, this becomes incredibly more complex because as we mentioned when we discussed the twins of American Horror Story, punishing an innocent party in the process of punishing a guilty one falls under cruel and unusual punishment.
In other words, Bruce Banner couldn’t be sent to an institution for the rest of his life simply to prevent The Hulk from causing a ruckus. On the other hand, because Bruce Banner has some control over the emergence of The Hulk, he may still be sentenced to a short stay in a mental health facility or at least anger management courses until he can control his impulses to “Hulk out.” Of course, if he ever is completely overtaken by The Hulk and cannot change back -like he does in the comics, then he could absolutely be locked in a mental facility until he becomes sane again.
In real life, no one (as of yet) has unleashed a super-strong, uncontrollable creature inside their body after exposure to gamma rays, but there are still plenty of people out there who relate to the character on account of their anger management issues. If you occasionally “Hulk out” and have ran into legal problems as a result, please contact Vista defense attorney Peter M. Liss at (760) 643-4050 or (858) 486-3024 to schedule a free initial consultation.
Creative Commons Image by Eneas De Troya