Your mental capacity is your ability to understand your actions as well as the consequences of those actions. "Diminished capacity" is a legal term which means that your ability to fully understand your own actions is diminished, or lessened.
What is Diminished Capacity?
‘Diminished capacity’ is often used as a defense in a court of law to diminish a person’s guilt. For example, in the 1980’s, a man named Dan White killed the Mayor of San Francisco. He was not convicted of murder, but was charged with manslaughter (a less serious crime) on the basis that his capacity to understand and control his actions was diminished by the sugar content of his blood. This sugar content was due to eating "Twinkies" - a cream-filled cake. Today, we call a diminished capacity defense a ‘Twinkie defense’.
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