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Civil Commitment And The Mentally Ill

1271 words - 6 pages

It is very hard to differentiate an ordinary mental health from a mental illness because there is no easy way of knowing unless you test them. Also, some mental health illnesses can be imitated by physical disorders. Mental health illnesses are ruled on any physical disorder, they are diagnosed and treated from the signs and symptoms, and also on how much the illness affects your everyday life ("Mental health: What's normal, what's not - Mayo Clinic", n.d.). Civil commitment laws have been around in the United States ever since the 1800s. Civil commitment cases mostly consist of family members of a mentally ill person who will try to commit the person in order to guarantee that they get help. The court system does not always care for civil commitment if the person is not showing direct danger or threats to them self or to others around them ("Civil Commitment of the Mentally Ill", n.d). 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 an insanity defense. The defendants must be capable to stand trial, but they do have the right to present evidence of a mental disease as evidence that they did not have the required intent ("A Crime Of Insanity - Insanity On Trial | FRONTLINE | PBS", n.d.). The state of Georgia uses a reformed style of the M'Naghten Rule ("The Insanity Defense Among the States - FindLaw", n.d.). Daniel M’Naghten was an Englishmen who was a paranoid schizophrenic. Daniel M’Naghten was under the false impression that he was being persecuted for shooting and killing Edward Drummond. M’Naghten was found not guilty for the crime because he was insane at the time of the crime ("United States Insanity Defense Law Summary and Law Digest", n.d.). “The English House of Lords to establish standards for the defense of insanity, the result subsequently referred to as the M'Naghten Rule” ("United States Insanity Defense Law Summary and Law Digest", n.d.). In order to say that a person is guilty of a crime, the person must be made known to be responsible for committing the crime. To be held responsible for a crime, there are two main things that need to be proven. One is that the person committed the act of actus reus (Allnutt, S., Samuels, A., & O'Driscoll, C. 2007). Actus reus is an action in violation of the law, a guilty act (Schmalleger, 2011, p. 123). Next is in doing this crime, the person acted on their own free will called mens rea (Allnutt, S., Samuels, A., & O'Driscoll, C. 2007). Mens rea is a state of mind that go with a criminal mind, a guilty mind act (Schmalleger, 2011, p. 124).
Ersland (2009) stated, “The insanity defense is used in...

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