This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

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 is often seen as a way for criminals to ‘get out’ of punishment for their crimes. For a criminal to be declared NGRI, they have to undergo extensive psychiatric evaluation to determine that, at the time of their crimes, they were not of sound mind and unable to realize the wrongfulness of their actions. If a jury decides that they are not guilty—which occurs in around 25% of cases where the insanity plea is accepted—they will receive mental care and rehabilitation but remain imprisoned for the remainder of their lives. The controversy arises from many facets of this issue. One is whether the legal system should allow this defense, as many states have banned it. Another question is whether insanity can be proven in a manner that is acceptable in a trial. Another question is whether juries are educated enough about the nature of insanity and how it is proven to make an informed decision. There is little agreement between the psychological and legal communities and the public on the correct policy regarding the insanity defense. This defense is a necessary part of the legal system in order to protect those who are unaware of their actions. One thing, however, is clear: if this defense is to continue to be a legal option, state lawmakers need to modify it. The evaluation of defendants, administration of punishment, and publicity of cases that deal with the insanity defense all can be modified in order to maintain its use in the legal system.
The Insanity Defense is a long-standing part of the legal system, with the first cases documented in the 1800s (Daftary-Kapur T, 2011). Since its origins, the intent was to help the members of society who were psychologically unable to defend themselves. As incidences where this defense was publicly used became more common, controversy began to arise. In 1982 when John Hinckley Jr. attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan but was not convicted guilty because of the insanity defense, the United States became more aware of the problems surrounding this issue. People began to debate whether the defense should be allowed to exist because of the negative implications of ‘releasing’ murders. At the end of the 20th century, the cannibalistic serial killer Jeffery Dahmer was arrested for the murder of 19 men. Though the judge accepted his plea of insanity, he was found guilty and his insanity defense was rejected. People thought that this was likely the end of cases involving the insanity defense, because the fact that such a deranged individual was acquitted for his crimes...

Find Another Essay On Defense of the Insanity Defense

Insanity Defense Essay

1976 words - 8 pages Insanity Defense *Missing Works Cited* "Insanity is defined as a mental disorder of such severity as to render its victim incapable of managing his affairs or conforming to social standards." (Insanity, pg. 1) It is used in court to state that the defendant was not aware of what he/she was doing at the time of the crime, due to mental illnesses. But insanity is a legal, not a medical, definition. There is a difference between mental

Insanity Defense Essay

1210 words - 5 pages the difference from right or wrong and was able to convince Judge Boyd to only give him 10 years in rehab; in which the parents were willing to pay 450,000 a year for treatment. The rehab center was like a spa or a 10 years vacation. Many people are angry because they are abusing insanity defense and should be tested. Some people don’t care and just want freedom of thoughts. Although insanity defense is sometimes abused, it is a justifiable

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

Is The Current Law Defense of Insanity Ineffective?

2143 words - 9 pages INTRODUCTION In this project, I will consider whether the current law defence of insanity is ineffective, out-dated and in need of reform. I will do so by considering few criticisms of the insanity defence under the M’Naghten rules by academics like Peter Blood and others, as well as by reviewing possible law reform in the Insanity and automatism Scoping paper. My main aim is to uncover particular parts of the law which urgently need a reform

The Hinckley Trial and the Insanity Defense

1237 words - 5 pages , and medications. (Dan Greenberg, Psychiatric Treatments) The John Hinckley Trail was an assassination crime towards the president Ronald Reagan of the United States of America. The prosecution raised a defense against the defendant saying he was full aware of his actions and should be tried guilty for the murder of the president. The defendant stated not guilty by claim of insanity. Hinckley had an interest in famous crimes, and he studied

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

Insanity Defense: Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity (NGRI)

2964 words - 12 pages “Not guilty by reason of insanity” (NGRI) has often perplexed even the most stringent of legal and psychiatric professionals for centuries. Moreover, it has transcended into the pop culture, as a “loophole”for the criminal society. However, the insanity defense is only used in less than 1% of criminal cases, and used successfully in only 10-25% of those cases (Torry and Billick, 2010). In order to successfully be acquitted by reason of

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

1909 words - 8 pages In recent times, the insanity defense has been prevalent in many high profile legal battles, as well as being featured in numerous blockbuster movies. In addition, it is also the subject matter of countless television talk shows. For example, Ricki Lake, Geraldo Rivera and Jerry Springer have often instigated guests to act out in anger and rage, and thus provided the general public with vast misinformation about mental health. It seems all too

Answers whether the insanity defense has a useful fuinction

1162 words - 5 pages The insanity defense refers to that branch of the concept of insanity, which defines the extent to which those accused of crimes may be relieved of criminal responsibility by virtue of mental disease. The terms of such a defense are to be found in the instructions presented by the trial judge to the jury at the close of a case. These instructions can be drawn from any of several rules used in the determination of mental illness. The final

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

“I’m crazy I swear. Now let me off”: The Insanity Defense

2390 words - 10 pages insanity. His defense: “not guilty by reason of insanity.” Should he be let off? The insanity plea should be changed to “guilty by reason of insanity” to protect the justice of the American people. Criminals should not be able to get out on an insanity plea, or be treated any differently. Their physical body committed the crime, therefore they should be charged for it, no matter the state of mind they were in. Former U.S president Ronald

Similar Essays

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

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

The Insanity Defense Essay

2225 words - 9 pages known what they were doing at the time or not have realized their actions were wrong. (Insanity defense among the states ) Despite the fact that people plead insanity it is not confirmed they will be granted that permission and there is no possible way to prove that they were actually insane at the time, the insanity defense is needed because it is a right that we are entitled to use and some people really were not aware of what they were doing so

The Insanity Defense Essay

1377 words - 6 pages The first claim of the insanity defense recorded can be found in Hammurabi’s code which dates back to around 1772 BC. The Code of Hammurabi is a Babylonian law code of ancient Iraq, formerly Mesopotamia. Back when the Roman Empire ruled the government found convicted people to be non-compos mentis. This means without mastery of mind and not guilty for their criminal actions. There have been many different types of test over the years to