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 illness and going insane. Many problems are raised by the existence of the insanity defense. For example, determining the patient's true mental illness (whether they are faking or not), placement of the mentally ill after trial, the credibility of the psychological experts, the percentage of cases that are actually successful, and the usefulness of such a defense. The insanity defense is also seen as a legal loophole and a waste of money. Due to this, the insanity defense as a whole should be abolished in order to prevent the freed criminal from performing the same crime that put him on trial in the first place.
As stated above, one of the main problems concerning the insanity defense is being able to detect whether or not the criminal is truly insane. Over the years the insanity test has evolved from a primitive version to a more detailed version. "…The insanity defense was based on the rule established in the M'Naghten case which had been handed down the by British House of Lords in 1843. The Lords ruled, "It must be clearly proved that, at the time of the committing of the act, the party accused was labouring under such a defect of reason, from disease of the mind, as not to know the nature and quality of the act he was doing; or if he did know it, that he did not know he was doing what was wrong." And this became the insanity test for more than a century." (Mental Health Law and the US judicial system, pg 4) This rule is also known as the right/wrong test; it says that a person is basically insane if they are unable to distinguish between right and wrong as a result of some mental disability. This rule focuses on cognition, which alone is not enough to determine whether someone is mentally disabled. The M'Naghten rule remained the definition of the insanity defense up until 1954.
When the Durham case arose the insanity test was changed. Judge David Baezelon stated that, "an accused is not criminally responsible if his unlawful act was the product of mental disease or mental defect." (Mental Health Law and the US Judicial System, pg 4) This was the foundation for the new insanity test. Baezelon worked with psychologists and psychiatrists in developing the new test and in 1962 the "Durham Rule" was founded. It was said to be better than the M'Naghten rule in that it included both cognition and volitional impairment. The M'Naghten rule didn't include volitional impairment, which is an irresistible impulse while cognition impairment is not understanding the quality of the act. The...

Find Another Essay On 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: 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 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

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 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

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

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

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

Ciminal Insanity

2351 words - 9 pages attacking her, or maybe she was even farther removed from reality. This is the difficulty with criminal insanity cases. Sometimes, even if the person is mentally ill a murder is a murder; theft is theft. Should criminal insanity be a useable defense in Canadian court systems? Through the history there have been three basic definitions of legal insanity. First was the M'Naghten Rule. This rule stated that a person was only considered legally insane

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

Similar Essays

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

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

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