A review of the use of the insanity defense in a court case

Insanity Defense You asked for a summary and comparison of Connecticut and Montana law on the insanity defense, as well as a summary of State v. A defendant acquitted by reason of mental disease or defect insanity is committed by the court to the jurisdiction of the psychiatric security review board within the Department of Mental Health, for a period not to exceed the maximum sentence for the offense.

A review of the use of the insanity defense in a court case

Such individuals need special treatment as opposed to prison; punishment is not likely to deter future antisocial conduct of these mentally diseased individuals.

A review of the use of the insanity defense in a court case

As far back as ancient Rome, legal codes distinguished between those who were "lunatics" and not accountable and those who were sane and responsible. In that time period, insanity acquitees regularly spent many years even a lifetime locked in institutions for the criminally insane.

An insanity acquittal was a showing of compassion and a recognition of the cruelty to inflict punishment on someone who did not know his actions were wrong. More importantly, the public could rest assured that a person committed to a mental institution would not be walking the streets anytime in the near future if ever.

This pattern of early release is due to two factors: Accordingly, the public is less receptive to a NGRI verdict because the length of confinement may be exceptionally short and a person released is able to exert all rights of a regular citizen; as the person technically has not committed a crime.

In order to fully understand the controversy surrounding the defense of insanity, it is necessary to trace its roots through history -- beginning in -- when the first uniform insanity rule was developed. The defendant plead insanity at the trial.

It signaled the beginning of a long process of attempting to integrate the growing body of the psychiatric field with legal principles to define appropriate standards of insanity to use in defense.

The test reached its high point in when it was adopted in the federal court system and a majority of the state courts. The jury was required to answer two questions: This test allowed a prosecutor to prove sanity easily by simply showing a defendant understood the moral consequences of an action; mental illness did not matter.

Up until a few decades into the 19th Century, medical testimony was rare at an insanity trial. If a physician were available, the doctor simply gave a generic list of behaviors generally present in a mentally ill individual; the physician did not examine the defendant.

At the time, the medical profession knew little about mental disease and believed insanity to be incurable. The prevailing treatment of the day involved leeches to remove "tainted" blood from the insane. New theories of the cause of insanity were developed and optimism on a cure was prevalent.

The test needed to be revised -- but the question was how to revise it.

The James Holmes Trial and the Insanity Defense | HuffPost

The law should not only acquit a person not knowing an act was wrong, but should also acquit one who was unable to prevent themselves from committing the act despite knowledge of wrongfulness. The theory was that mental disease could force one to act against their will--a person could be driven by an irresistible impulse.

Criticisms of the test were obvious -- all men have impulses, but society demands that you resist them or face the consequences.In October , he was found not guilty by reason of insanity, after which he was confined to a state mental hospital. Continue to read more notorious examples of when the insanity defense worked.

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WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court said Monday it will use an Arizona case to decide whether states must allow insanity defenses against criminal charges, and if so, what evidence can be. Apr 19,  · The Supreme Court reviews Clark v. Arizona, a new test of the insanity defense. The parents of an Arizona man who killed a police officer want their son declared guilty but insane.

Library High Court Reviews Insanity-Defense Case. About; Blog; Careers; Contact; Donate; FAQ; Partners; Press; Research; Security; CommonLit for Leaders. Apr 20,  · The Supreme Court embarked on a potentially far-reaching review of the insanity defense yesterday, as the justices heard oral arguments in the case of an Arizona man, Eric Michael Clark, who was.

The insanity defense, also known as the mental disorder defense, is an affirmative defense by excuse in a criminal case, arguing that the defendant is not responsible for his or her actions due to an episodic or persistent psychiatric disease at the time of the criminal act.

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