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

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 common, that the public is inundated with exaggerated diagnoses of mental disorders, according to Jeanne Heaton, a psychologist at Ohio University (Talan 14). Criminals purposely try to plead insanity for crimes they commit to escape severe punishment. It's the 'last-ditch defense' of anyone who's undeniably guilty on fact (Morse). Because of the manipulation of the insanity defense, I believe it is in serious need of reform throughout the United States, or it should be abolished in all criminal cases.The controversy over the insanity defense comes from the many different interpretations of insanity and the different notions of how to deal with those people who are truly insane. The insanity and incompetence defenses are considered by many to be defenses by excuse, where a defendant may argue that he/she should not be held criminally liable for breaking the law, as they were mentally ill or incompetent at the time of the criminal act. This defense is based on the principle that punishment is reasonable only if the defendant is capable of both controlling his/her behavior and understanding that he/she has committed a wrongful act. A defendant making this argument might plead "not guilty by reason of insanity," as defined in the Encyclopedia of Applied Ethics ("Insanity").The concept of insanity is different from the concept of 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 determined sane to stand trial despite a mental illness. This ruling is known as Guilty but Mentally Ill or Guilty but Insane.Historically, the use of the insanity defense has been limited although not exclusively to those with a psychotic mental disorder at the time of the crime. Such examples include someone with a personality disorder who malingers psychosis and legal insanity or who at the time of the crime may have been suffering from a drug-induced or brief reactive psychosis. (Osran and Weinberger 257).The first documented ruling about the insanity defense was in 1724, but the defense had been used in less than 2% of all capital cases (and was unsuccessful in 80% of those) until the 1980's. The McNaghten Rule, initiated in England in...

Find Another Essay On The Insanity Defense, "Innocent by Reason of Insanity", Should be Reformed or Abolished

The Insanity Defense Essay

1170 words - 5 pages the insanity defense is to allow juries to come to two separate decisions – one regarding whether or not the defendant is innocent or guilty, and the other regarding whether or not the defendant is responsible for the crime. The sentence imposed by the judge would then be based on a combination of these two judgments. While cases invoking the insanity defense often receive a ton of media attention, the defense is actually not raised very

The Insanity Defense: Crazy or Not?

687 words - 3 pages outraged about this form of punishment, and therefore juries should not feel comfortable sending someone who is most likely going to be raped into the prison system.When someone is convicted of being innocent by reason of insanity, this does not get them off the hook completely. These people are now considered to be dangerously mentally ill, and they will be sent to hospitals or other faciliates to be evaluated and treated for their illness. As the

Insanity Defense

1976 words - 8 pages 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

The Insanity Defense

1377 words - 6 pages required to answer two questions before making their decision on the verdict. The first one being “did the defendant have a mental disease or defect?” The second question was, “if so, was the disease or defect the reason for the unlawful act?” Both of the answers to the questions had to be "yes" in order of a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity. This test recognized that mental illness was a disease that could be treated and maybe even

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 and arguments, but arguments that oppose the insanity plea use much stronger and logical reasoning.One reason the insanity plea should be abolished is that it imposes a threat on the safety of the innocent and sane, American public. A large number of Americans feel that the insanity plea should be erased or altered to protect their own safety. One idea would be to prevent the use of the insanity plea when more extreme cases such as murder are on

Insanity Defense

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

Gender Differences in Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity (NGRI)

2441 words - 10 pages Interest and debate have greatly increased over the Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity (NGRI) plea since the 1970s. The legal definition of insanity as understood by Dunn, Cowan, and Downs (2006) is, “a person is thought insane if he or she is incapable of knowing or understanding the nature and quality of his or her act of distinguishing right from wrong at the time of the commission of the offense.” There are several investigations needed in

Is The Current Law Defense of Insanity Ineffective?

2143 words - 9 pages , the D was reckless and could not escape from criminal liability. Lawton LJ held: As Ashworth has written: As such, someone who neglect their condition like not eating properly may be acquitted by reason of non-insane automatism, whereas someone else who neglects their condition by not injecting insulin may be found ‘not guilty by reason of insanity‘. This distinction seems to be bizarre and unfair, because in the case of Davies (2001) lorry

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 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 Part I When is the insanity plea a reasonable and

866 words - 3 pages defect of reason from disease of the mind' as to not realize what they were doing or why it was a crime" {The Washington Post. 27 Feb 1998. John P. Martin27 October 2004. .Most people believe that the insanity defense should be abolished because many criminals now use it to escape crime, and because it is now being rampantly used; part of this is true, but should the insanity defense be abolished because of the act of a few scheming criminals? what

Similar Essays

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

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 postpartum depression drowned all five of her children but was found not guilty by reason of insanity, and was sentenced to a very harsh and unjust punishment without receiving the treatment that she needed. (Lilienfeld 2011) People thought that if she was legally innocent it would have been as if she never drowned her 5 children and they did not want to allow that. (Lilienfeld 2011) The insanity defense is only there to protect those people

Against The Insanity Defense Essay

1238 words - 5 pages 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