The insanity plea history and implications

History and Background The Insanity Defense: History and Background Although the insanity defense is probably the most controversial of all criminal defense strategies, it is also, somewhat ironically, one of the least used.

The insanity plea history and implications

Share13 Shares The insanity defense is one of the most popularly depicted criminal defense strategies in television and film culture. In legal definition, the McNaughten rule dictates that a person may be considered not responsible for a crime if his or her state of mind is in a diminished capacity, or he did not know it was wrong.

This had given life to the perception that the defense is an easy solution to evading jail time. Nonetheless, the insanity defense as a strategy is fascinating and its validity widely debated since its inception in the twentieth century, mainly due to the difficulty in proving beyond the reasonable doubt that the criminal was insane during the commitment of their crimes and the ethical implications of allowing deranged criminals to avoid incarceration.

The Insanity Defense | Psychology Today

The following list explores some of the most notorious cases and debunks some of their popular misconceptions at the same time. In the subsequent trial, the brothers attempted to prove their insanity through extreme behavior.

The insanity plea history and implications

For example, they would bang their heads against the table until they bled, bark like dogs, drool, and cry uncontrollably. The court was unconvinced and proceeded to charge them for their offenses.

Towards the end of their incarceration, they pursued a hunger strike for a total period of 10 months refusing any food.

On the 12th of Marchthey were taken to the electric chair in a state of near-death and executed. In its time, it served to correct the misconception that criminals who plead the insanity defense often walk as free men, which is rarely the case.

Even if a person was determined to be mentally ill, a study at a mental institution in New York found that some patients spend a far larger amount of time committed than they would have spent in prison for their crimes. He married Teresa Bagioli when he was She was 15 at the time.

This was also the same man who chose not to present his pregnant wife at home to Queen Victoria, but instead hire the services of a common prostitute Fanny White for the dignified task.

However, his greatest scandal came when he shot and killed Philip Barton Key in Lafayette Park for having an affair with said wife Teresa. Before an all-male jury, Daniel Sickles was acquitted of his murder charges in In the aftermath of the trial, the public was not only nonchalant to the outrageous claim, but applauded his actions for liberating the ladies of Washington from the adulterer Philip.

Elena was stabbed 26 times. It should also be noted that Steinberg was the one who called the police reporting an attempted burglary gone awry, though the police found no signs of a break in.

The insanity plea history and implications

The case drew much publicity in Arizona not only for the heinous crime, but because it was a case of homicidal somnambulism, or simply known as sleepwalking murder.

Sleep walking is a parasomnia manifested by automatism; as such, harmful actions committed while in this state cannot be blamed on the perpetrator. Not only that, he did not deny the fact that he murdered his wife. In his criminal trial, the jury found him not guilty on the grounds that he was temporarily insane when he committed the crime.

Although Steinberg fabricated the story about the intruders, he walked away as a free man. Members of the jury were also quoted later to saying they were aware that they were releasing a killer but he was not criminally responsible for his actions.

The Insanity Defense | History of Forensic Psychology

He is a man with a history of schizophrenia and claimed to hear voices, believed someone had dissected his brain, that his genitalia had enlarged from consuming contaminated food, and someone named Larry stole his feces and ate them with a knife and fork.

They claimed that Goldstein was using schizophrenia as a false account of his actions.The insanity defense asserts that a criminal defendant should not be found guilty due to the defendant's insanity, but insanity in this context refers to a very specific dysfunction.

The insanity defense is a significant area at the nexus of law and psychiatry. This introduction merely provides a glance at the issues that run deeper.

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Articles from Psychiatry (Edgmont) are provided here courtesy of Matrix Medical Communications. Tracing the circular evolution of the insanity defense, from the 19th century trial of a would-be assassin in Great Britain to the controversial acquittal in the United States of John Hinckley Jr.

Pleas for insanity are very rare. Only approximately one percent of defendants plead the insanity defense and only about one fourth of those actually are acquitted by the insanity defense (Knowles, ).

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The insanity defense, also known as the mental disorder defense, is a 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.

As we examine the history and implications of the insanity plea, a few questions should be kept in mind How can we be sure that a person is indeed insane (he could be putting on a show) and 2. How can we be sure that a person is indeed insane (he could be putting on a show) and 2.

The Insanity Defense: History and Background - FindLaw