Against The Insanity Defense. Essay

1238 words - 5 pages

The insanity defense has been used for decades to justify the crimes of those individuals found to be not guilty by reason of insanity (NGRI). The use of the insanity defense is one that is surrounded in controversy and continues to be a problem for medical and law professionals across the nation. One major problem with the insanity defense is that insanity is a legal, not a medical definition. So how can one apply medical theory to a legal matter? Other problems associated with the insanity defense include how to actually determine mental illness, justifiable placement of those judged mentally ill, and its overall usefulness (Chiacchia 2001).The general public also has issues with the use of the insanity defense. They feel that NGRIs result in a shorter or non-existent prison/institutionalization, that the mentally ill should not be treated like normal citizens once released, and that the insanity defense is used to escape justice (Brownfeld 1994:10). Also at issue is the belief that the state of psychological knowledge encourages expensive "dueling experts" contests that are difficult for juries to understand (Chiacchia 2001). The insanity defense may also unfairly exclude some defendants who may legitimately qualify as being mentally ill due to the variety of definitions inexistence involving insanity and mental illness (Paquette 2002:77).All of these reasons suggest that the best alternative, when it comes to the insanity defense, is abolishment. This doesn't mean that it should be eliminated altogether, but that improvements need to be made, or a new type of insanity defense needs to be created to eliminate the deficits of the current insanity defense (Linhorst & Dirks-Linhorst 1999:71). Without some sort of change the insanity defense will not be supported as a legitimate option for those deemed not guilty by reason of insanity.The insanity defense allows a mentally ill defendant to avoid being imprisoned for a crime on the assumption that he or she was not capable of distinguishing right from wrong (Pelayo 1999:729). This suggests that a mentally ill defendant cannot be deterred by the threat of punishment and that treatment for the defendant is more likely to protect society then a jail term with out treatment (Chiacchia 2001). If this were the case then there would be an absence of mentally ill in today's prison system. Clearly this definition is flawed because some of these individuals are not receiving the treatment that they need in order to return to normal society. This may be due to the problem of determining mental illness in the first place (Paquette 2002:77). The insanity defense does not keep the guilty mentally ill locked away and the insanity acquitted are usually afforded the same constitutional rights and equal protection rights of civilly committed individuals. This makes it difficult to retain mentally defendants if they are deemed recovered. The advances that have been made in psychiatric treatments also make it...

Find Another Essay On Against the Insanity Defense.

The Insanity Defense: Crazy or Not?

687 words - 3 pages The article "The Insanity Defense and the Unabomber Trial" by Barbara Sarason of the University of Washington touches on a number of important questions for all members of our society to consider. The insanity defense is used in only approximately one percent of felony cases and succeeds only a rare amount of the time, yet on television and in courtroom fiction it is depicted as being a common technique used by cunning defense lawyers. Shows

Answers whether the insanity defense has a useful fuinction.

1162 words - 5 pages mental condition could be taken into account. In effect, this interpretation would abolish the mens rea requirement altogether. The prosecution would not have to prove anything about the accused's mental state. This is unnecessary. For one thing, it would wipe out the distinctions that separate first-degree murder, second-degree murder, and manslaughter. It is doubtful that anyone against the insanity defense would choose to take this approach

Andrea Yates and The Evolution of Insanity Defense

1919 words - 8 pages wife’s condition. By reason of doctors saying that Andrea Yates was getting better, Rusty had the right to believe that his wife was truly getting better and also that if he treated her like she was insane, the end result would be the same. The M’Naughten Rule states, “Every man is to be presumed to be sane, and ... that to establish a defense on the ground of insanity, it must be clearly proved that, at the time of the committing of the act, the

The Insanity Defense Part I When is the insanity plea a reasonable and

866 words - 3 pages The Insanity Defense Part IOutlineWhen is the insanity plea a reasonable and ethical tool?Thesis: Although some criminals abuse the insanity plea by invoking it to escape being punished for their crimes, the insanity plea should nevertheless still be allowed for those with a documented record of mental illness.I. Background information on the insanity plea [the M'Naughten case]II. Abusing the insanity pleaIII. Importance of the insanity plea in

The Insanity Defense, "Innocent by Reason of Insanity", Should be Reformed or Abolished

1909 words - 8 pages incompetence. Incompetence is the inability of a defendant to understand the charges against him/her, the inability to participate in his/her defense, and it relates to the defendant's state of mind at the time of the trial ("Insanity"). A trial cannot proceed if a defendant has been found incompetent. The legal concept of insanity is different from the psychiatric concept of mental illness. A person whose mental illness is not under dispute may be

Nuclear Deterrence is the Best Defense Against Nuclear War

1240 words - 5 pages Nuclear Deterrence is the Best Defense Against Nuclear War In 1945, a great technological innovation was dropped over Japan, the atomic bomb. Ever since the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the world has faced the threat of nuclear attack. In reaction to this, world governments have been forced to find a defense against nuclear attack. One solution to the danger of nuclear attack is the use of nuclear deterrence. Nuclear deterrence is

Defense of "The Passion of the Christ" Against Charges of Anti-Semitism

1170 words - 5 pages So it was thought there was nothing more to be written or said about Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ. Wrong. The controversial motion picture The Passion of the Christ has been at the height of discussion since first word of its inception. Throughout history both Christians and Jews have been at odds and many have taken their passions, perceptions, and perversions of the Cross of Christ to the extreme. The core issue is that the Jews

The Insanity Plea

2371 words - 9 pages Over the years the standards and requirements for the insanity plea have changed, from strict to lenient back to strict and so on. According to the article ‘Insanity defense among the states’, in some states for example Kansas, Montana, Idaho, and Utah just abolished the ability to pleading insanity all together. (Insanity defense among the states) In other states the requirements vary like in California they use the McNaughton rule which says

Insanity

4975 words - 20 pages Insanity is a legal term, used to cover a wide ranging and frequently expanding list of mental health conditions and syndromes. Webster's dictionary defines insanity as a "deranged state of mind," lacking the "mental capacity required by law" to enter into certain agreements or "as removes one from criminal or civic responsibility." The insanity (and incompetence) defense therefore is the means by which a defendant may argue that he or she

Civil Commitment and the Mentally Ill

1271 words - 6 pages ). In this paper we will talk about the insanity statutes being used in the state of Georgia and how often the insanity defense is being used, and the major criticisms of the insanity defense. For many years the public has fought with the idea that a mentally ill person should not be held accountable for criminal crimes (Allnutt, S., Samuels, A., & O'Driscoll, C. 2007). In states Montana, Idaho, and Utah, does not consent for the defendant to plea

Ill or Evil

2021 words - 9 pages . Of course I didn’t come to this decision easily. When I started to research this topic I was against the insanity defense. I thought, like many others, that it was an excuse to avoid the death penalty and jail time and instead of serving life in prison they could spend their life institutionalized and medicated. Now, I believe there is a group of people, albeit a very small group of who truly are mentally ill, and not in the right mind when

Similar Essays

This Essay Argues Against The Insanity Plea. It Gives About 5 Points/Arguments That Prove The Defense Faulty, And Tell That It Should Be Abolished From Court Rooms.

1081 words - 4 pages trial. Using the insanity plea in a murder case and getting away with it shakes the security of American people. Would anyone like to know that a murder who had left the mental institution after pleading mentally insane would be walking shoulder to shoulder with them or someone they loves out on the streets. This is a great fear behind the insanity defense because many non-guilty verdicts have set the violent offender free and he committed

Defense Of The Insanity Defense Essay

2558 words - 10 pages Defense of the Insanity Defense: John Hinckley Jr., Jeffery Dahmer, James Holmes, and Andrea Yates: all are perpetrators of violent crimes, and all claim insanity as the reason. In recent years, it seems that the verdicts of many major violent crimes have come down to whether the defendant is accountable for their actions or if they should be held Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity (NGRI). This verdict more commonly known as the Insanity Defense

The Insanity Defense Essay

2225 words - 9 pages Over the years the standards and requirements for the insanity plea have changed, from strict to lenient back to strict and so on. In some states for example Kansas, Montana, Idaho, and Utah just abolished the ability to plead insanity all together. (Insanity defense among the states ) In other states the requirements vary like in California they use the McNaughton rule which says that to be declared insane, defendants must either not have

The Insanity Defense Essay

1170 words - 5 pages Each state, and the District of Columbia, has its own statute outlining the standard for determining whether a defendant is legally insane, therefore not responsible, at the time the crime is committed. “An insanity defense is based on the theory that most people can choose to follow the law; but a few select persons cannot be held accountable because mental disease or disability deprives them of the ability to make a rational / voluntary