Ever hear of the caffeine defense?
Probably not, because “caffeine defense” is probably as absurd sounding to you and I as “Twinkie defense” was when the term first entered into common parlance years ago.
But a caffeine defense is making news in a case involving a bus driver accused of “serial groping,” and due to the unusual answer to such charges in what is an otherwise not notable case, public interest is piqued.
The case involves bus driver Ken Sands, 52, and alleged groping actions during a volleyball game in October of last year in the Rainier, Washington school district where Sands was employed. Remarkably, Sands stood accused (and was convicted) earlier this week of groping not one or two, but three teenage girls as well as two grown women during the course of that event.
As you may have guessed, Sands blamed caffeine for his strange series of transgressions. But the psychiatrist who pioneered what was dubbed the “Twinkie defense” back in the 70’s, Dr. Martin Blinder, expressed skepticism that caffeine could alter a person’s behavior in such a way, or that a caffeine defense was even medically, let alone legally, plausible.
Blinder explained why the Twinkie defense was put forward, and how a “caffeine defense” doesn’t make sense:
“When someone gets depressed and abandons his diet, eats junk food, and if you are already on a downward spiral, I can tell you that eating junk food is not therapeutic… If you ever read the label on a Twinkie, only two of the ingredients sound like food products.”
“We have no evidence that coffee is harmful. In fact, there is some evidence that drinking it in one’s old age can assist in some Alzheimer’s cases.”
Ultimately, the shrink admitted that coffee drinkers will experience withdrawal symptoms when they quit cold turkey, but that “going out and molesting women is not one of those symptoms.”
It would appear that the caffeine defense was not successful, as Sands was convicted of five counts of fourth-degree assault, and sentenced to 30 days in prison for each charge.