Mental defense out for former White House counsel’s upcoming attempted murder trial

One delay too many, a Stamford judge ruled Thursday that J. Michael Farren cannot employ a mental state defense in his upcoming trial for the 2010 attempted murder of his wife inside their New Canaan mansion.

Judge Richard Comerford told the former White House counsel that he would not allow him to make a mockery of the judicial system by his bald-faced delaying tactics and vowed that Farren trial would go forward in June as scheduled and that he would be barred from claiming any insanity defense at trial.

Farren, 61, rose in his chair and said, “I’m shocked by your decision and I’m shocked by your characterization. This is absolutely unjust.” Farren then said he would appeal Comerford’s decision to a higher court.

The ruling came after Farren refused to sign a common consent form late Tuesday afternoon just before he was to undergo a mental evaluation by a well-known Stamford psychiatrist that had been called for by prosecutors and had been ordered to undergo by Comerford. The mental health evaluation would have been used by the state during his trial if Farren claimed that he was under some kind of altered mental state at the time of the near fatal attack on his wife, which occurred on Jan. 6, 2010 only two days after his wife served him with divorce papers.

Farren’s wife, Mary Margaret Farren claims that he beat her repeatedly with a metal flashlight as well as beat her with his fists and strangled her in the bedroom of their $4 million dollar home on Wahackme Road. After regaining consciousness after the beating, Mrs. Farren fled from the home with her two young children and collapsed in a pool of blood just inside a neighbor’s front door.

Comerford said it was “quite clear” to him that Farren’s intentions were to stall any actions by the court leading to his trial.

Comerford said it was beyond comprehension after spending 22 years on the bench that a practicing attorney such as Farren would not expect to sign the authorization form at the start of the examination. He said he would not allow “anyone to make a joke out of the judicial system,” and he had no doubt that was Farren’s goal.

Comerford said he agreed with Cohen that Farren’s refusal to sign the form was a delaying tactic.

“We are done playing games with the system,” said Comerford, before he prohibited Farren from putting on a mental status defense at trial.

Comerford said he would not grant Cohen’s motion to hold Farren in contempt of court.

Comerford ordered that by May 8, Farren and Cohen turn in a list of witnesses that will be called to the stand at trial.

He also said jury selection will go on as scheduled for May 27. The first day of testimony in the trial is scheduled to begin June 17.