It could be called the sleepyhead defense.
An airplane passenger went bonkers, pitched a fit and has to be restrained, yet afterward was found not guilty by reason of insomnia.
His attorney claimed that lack of sleep prompted the erratic behavior.
It could set a dreamy precedent for defense lawyers and become a nightmare for prosecutors.
It’s easy to see where it could lead to:
Defense attorney: “Your honor, my client hadn’t enjoyed a good night’s rest in days, which clearly explains why he robbed the neighborhood store, mugged two little old ladies, hijacked an airliner, and kidnapped the Lindbergh baby.”
Judge: “Case dismissed. And I advise your client to get some shuteye.”
Or a burglar pleads his case: “There I was, peacefully snoring away, when the neighbor’s mutt started barking sometime around midnight and woke me up. Unable to go back to sleep, I got up, got dressed and – still drowsy – went next door and burglarized his house.”
Tossing and turning leads to breaking and entering.
Welcome to goodnight court.
Imagine one of a lurid tabloid headline reading, "Cops on lookout for sleepwalker slasher” or "Sleepy the dwarf mugs 6 co-workers.”
There was a time when going without sleep merely made you grouchy. Now, apparently, it can make you a felon.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation's most wanted list could be sponsored by No-Doze.
There could be a new national crime-prevention slogan that reads, "Be a snoozer, not a loser.” Perhaps, "No rest can mean arrest" would be a better slogan.
Could we have stumbled onto the solution to the nation’s soaring crime rate: a glass of warm milk before bedtime?
Remember, when one way to fall asleep was to count sheep?
Now, if one’s missing we know where to look.
Frankly, I’m a tad suspicious about the latest excuse for criminal behavior. I suspect that if defense attorneys use the goodnight alibi too much they – and their dozing desperadoes – are in for a rude awakening.
Then again, who knows?
When all else fails, a sleep-deprived criminal can hire himself a shrewd lullaby lawyer and perhaps beat the rap.
What’ll it be – 40 winks or 40 years? I'm assuming the criminal would chose 40 winks, your honor.
Maybe a new verse to an old song would be fitting: “Mr. Sandman, bring me reprieve.”