Dave Aronberg’s Office Mishandles Insanity Defense

Tilus Lebrun mugshot from PBSO

The State Attorney’s office for Palm Beach County, run by Dave Aronberg, botched the murder prosecution of Tilus Lebrun, who killed West Boca’s Jimmy Karaloukas at the victim’s Jimmy the Greek restaurant.

Lebrun was just found not guilty by reason of insanity on Monday on all charges including subsequent incidents of felony battery on law enforcement officers.

The insanity defense is governed by Florida Statute 775.027

Insanity is established when:
(a) The defendant had a mental infirmity, disease, or defect; and
(b) Because of this condition, the defendant:
1. Did not know what he or she was doing or its consequences; or
2. Although the defendant knew what he or she was doing and its consequences, the defendant did not know that what he or she was doing was wrong.
Mental infirmity, disease, or defect does not constitute a defense of insanity except as provided in this subsection.

(2) BURDEN OF PROOF.—The defendant has the burden of proving the defense of insanity by clear and convincing evidence.

West Boca News obtained a copy of the psychologist’s report that was prepared for the prosecution. The report starts off with the question asked by the prosecution:

“Whether Mr. Lebrun was legally sane at the time of the offense.”

If you read the statute, that is not the correct question. It is overly simplistic. The psychologist should have been asked to address the language of the statute.

It seems clear that the psychologist would have answered yes to part (a) of the statute – that Lebrun had a mental disease. But the bigger issues are in part (b). Did Lebrun know what he was doing? If so, did he know that what he was doing was wrong?

Those two questions are not addressed in the prosecution psychologist’s report. But the evidence shows Lebrun knew what he was doing. The probable cause affidavit reflects a statement he made right after he was arrested:

The unanswered question is whether Lebrun knew that what he was doing was wrong. For that we know under Florida law that it was his burden (or his lawyer’s) to prove that by clear and convincing evidence. This is a high standard to meet for the defense.

There’s a recent example of this in a case out of Orlando, Rodriguez v. State. In that case Rodriguez had the same diagnosis as Lebrun (paranoid schizophrenia) and the insanity defense was similarly based on hallucinations and delusions. The jury found Rodriguez guilty* even though seven defense expert witnesses testified he was insane and the prosecution did not offer an expert witness.

The appeals court noted in Rodriguez that:

the jurors were free to consider Rodriguez’s hallucinations and delusions as evidence of whether he suffered from a mental infirmity, disease, or defect, [but] they were only permitted to consider whether this condition caused Rodriguez at the time of the offenses to not know what he was doing or the consequences of his actions, or whether he knew that what he was doing was wrong.

Due to blunders by Aronberg’s office the victims and their families were deprived of a fair hearing on this important issue. An Orlando jury faced with similar facts denied the insanity defense. Lebrun’s insanity defense should have been determined by a Palm Beach County jury.

*Although the Rodriguez case was reversed on appeal (on a technical legal issue related to jury instructions), Rodriguez pled guilty before the second trial. He was sentenced to 30 years and later committed suicide in prison.

Author: Warren Redlich

Warren Redlich is a real estate agent and an attorney. He focuses on selling homes in West Boca Raton. Find out more at Yes Boca Real Estate.

2 thoughts on “Dave Aronberg’s Office Mishandles Insanity Defense”

  1. Please take your time to read over this.

    My father was killed by this man on March 13th, 2014
    But in the police report, this murderer said my father had taken a “photo” of him on March 2nd.. Seems like he planned to kill him, this doesn’t seem to be insanity.. He knew exactly what he was doing.. And why he was doing it.

    Let’s get a better and bigger picture of this.. This guy came into our restaurant and asked for a job, and what did my dad do/ say ” if you like it, it’s yours..” giving him the job not only because we might’ve needed someone but because this guy also spoke 3/4 different languages and he had come in a few times before.. One of the languages he spoke was Spanish, so my dad knew he could communicate with him. And there’s so much more…
    But let’s Fast Forward to the night this horrible act happened, he only new his own language (Creole) and called the cops on himself?!.. Knowing he killed him, knowing why he did it.. Myself and many others came across him many times before the incident and he did not seem to be “insane”.. he was quiet and did his job, we even let his wife come in and help him clean up dishes “faster”.. He had a family of his own.. How insane could he have really been?..
    4 years later and the court system doesn’t want to put this guy away for life with the rest of murderers. Instead let’s put him with the other “insane” people. Sickening to know this is how the system works.. Maybe it’s because we didn’t make a big fuss about it and called every news reporter out there.. But I guess that’s how things work today, right? We have a story, and this story wasn’t important enough to be handled the right way. There was no photo and maybe that’s why they’re going a “crazy” route but my dad took photos all the time.. Not of new workers or of people he didn’t really have a relationship with. More like his business he was running, food, and customers enjoying his food!, Family, etc.. What was crazy is he killed the wrong person and another was injured! My father did not deserve this.. He was nothing but a good, lovely person with open arms at all times! And this is the way he was repaid. This guy took away a husband, father, grandpa, uncle, cousin, godfather, friend, boss, and more.. And the justice he gets is an “insanity case”.. Right. This was put “at rest” but I expected nothing more.. 4 years of my mom and family going back and forth to court dates to hear about his “mental state”. Not even to hear anything else but an update to see if he’s ready for trial. Let’s talk to him in 3rd person to confuse the shit out of him, so he isn’t ready for trial.. Because that’s the stuff they did. This system sucks!! And We want your help to share this insanity! Any and all help is greatly appreciated… SHARE SHARE SHARE! we are not the only family affected by choices like these.. But today we need and want your help to speak up about the JUDICIAL SYSTEM

    I also want to thank West Boca News @westboca1 for making our story known, for the facts and examples about our and similar situation. Our family might not have wanted a trial but we want a fair justice system. We want someone to see the bigger picture and to make the right decision, for this is a wrong decision. We lost someone who meant the world to us, We don’t give a sh** about a MURDERERS “mental health”. We care that he gets what he deserves. To suffer behind bars on a life sentence because HE IS GUILTY. On behalf of our whole family that is spread across Greece, New York, Florida, Washington, Germany, Peru.. We are NOT just a small family in Boca. We need closure and this isn’t the way…
    Rest In Heaven Daddy??, I will forever cherish all memories we made together, We miss you greatly! But you are not at peace until he is where he belongs. Forever your German Shepard ?

    #foreverloved #forevermissed #Justiceforjimmy #jimmythegreek

  2. What do you expect from a Democrat like Aronberg?

    Like Rodriguez, this sane son of a bitch better do us all a favor and kill himself in prison, too.

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