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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 judicial systemIV. Example of cases in which the insanity plea had been usedV. Summary of main pointsThe common awareness that our legal system is based upon the belief that a person is responsible for his action, but this is not applicable to the mentally insane who commit crimes. The mentally ill use the insanity plea to keep them away from prison or the electric chair whenever they commit crimes, and these crimes are in most cases very severe. This (Insanity Defense) is an endeavor to place in morality into our so called perfect law because there is no perfect test to know if the acclaimed criminal is insane or not. Contrary to what a few people who have lost their loved ones through the act of an insane person, and most people who oppose the insanity plea say, a person who commits a crime and at the time the crime was committed he was not in his correct sate of mind and cannot differentiate between wrong and right, the person should not be held accountable for that crime according to the M'Naghten rule.Daniel M'Naghten, according to the book The Guilty Mind, by John Biggs, was a "Scotsman" who accidentally shot Edward Drummond who was "principal secretary" to Prime Minister Robert Peel in 1843. M'Naghten intended to shoot the prime minister, but mistakenly shot Drummond, thinking that he was PeelDrummond died and M'Naghten "was charged with first-degree murder". Today it is certain that M'Naghten was "insane" when he committed the murder. John Biggs explained that M'Naghten was delusional and also hallucinated, and that "his conduct in London, as proven by sworn evidence of the witness, was mad indeed" (95-96). Biggs further stated that "M'naghten was 'under the influence of a form of mental disorder symptomized by delusions of persecution, in which Peel appeared as one of the persecutors"[97].M'naghten was acquitted on "the ground of insanity" ,and was sent to "Bethlehem Hospital" to "await the crown pleasure", but was later moved to "Broadmoor" where he died after twenty years, "probably of diabetes mellitus" [102].After the acquital of M'naghten the "M'naghten rule" which to this day is used in England was...

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