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Ciminal Insanity Essay

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“A judge's ruling today that an Irvington babysitter who stabbed her 5-year-old nephew 57 times is not guilty by reason of insanity was followed by screams of agony from the dead child's father.” (Juri, 2009)
This woman will be locked up, but in a maximum security psychiatric facility not a prison. Is this just? Is this fair? It may be. What if this woman did not know that the child was what she was stabbing? What if she saw a dog that was 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 if they were "incapable of appreciating his surroundings"(Montaldo, 2010) due to a mental illness. This is a quite strict definition without much room for special cases. It caused a “black and white” view of criminal insanity cases. The M'Naghten Rule lasted until the 1950s when in the Durham v. United States case the court ruled that "would not have committed the criminal act but for the existence of a mental disease or defect."(Montaldo, 2010) the Durham method got a lot of criticism because it was very lenient on the definition of criminal insanity so that it almost depended on the judge to decide if the person was to be considered criminally insane or not. To address this problem a third method was created by the American Law Institute and was published as part of the Model Penal Code. The Model Penal Code provided a standardized idea of crimina...


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...us reus. Retrieved from http://www.answers.com/topic/actus-reus
Burns, K. (2008, May 16). Criminal insanity . Retrieved from http://karisable.com/crmh.htm
Dryden-Edwards, MD, R. (2010). Schizophrenia. Retrieved from http://www.medicinenet.com/schizophrenia/page3.htm
Farlex, . (2010). Insanity defense. Retrieved from http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Criminal+insanity
Findlaw, . (2010). The insanity defense: history and background .. Retrieved from http://criminal.findlaw.com/crimes/more-criminal-topics/insanity-defense/insanity-defense-background.html
Juri, C. (2009, January 06). Judge accepts insanity defense from babysitter in irvington child's slaying. Retrieved from http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2009/01/a_judges_ruling_today_that.html
Montaldo, C. (2010). The insanity defense. Retrieved from http://crime.about.com/od/issues/a/insanity.htm


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