Some sleepwalkers commit acts of violence, or even murder, in their sleep. Courts must decide what to do with criminal defendants who raise a defense of sleepwalking. A brief review of common law reveals that courts apply the defense inconsistently under various doctrines of justification and excuse. Sleepwalking is a unique medical phenomenon, and courts are poorly equipped to evaluate claims of sleepwalking under existing common law defenses. This Note proposes a single sleepwalking defense based on a balancing test that integrates the medical understanding of sleepwalking.
Mike Horn, A Rude Awakening: What to Do with the Sleepwalking Defense?, 46 B.C.L. Rev. 149 (2004), http://lawdigitalcommons.bc.edu/bclr/vol46/iss1/3