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Essay on Legal System: The Insanity Defense

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For centuries, one of the most controversial topics in the legal system has been the insanity defense. Some believe that this defense should stay, but many have the opposite opinion. Many of the arguments stemming from the public state that this defense is useless and does not belong in the legal system. The majority of the time, this opinion is formed based on a narrow view of high profile cases seen on the news without a sufficient amount of knowledge on the topic to have an educated opinion. Digging deeper into this subject shows that this defense deserves to remain in the legal system. The insanity defense has every right to stay in the legal system because not having it is a moral injustice to those who cannot control their actions and need clinical help.

The Insanity Defense is complicated, easily confused, and requires a full legal analysis on its meaning before it can be completely understood. Insanity is considered a disability excuse (Robinson and Darley 127) as well as a mental illness. From a legal standpoint, a mental illness is when “Someone loses their free will to make their own decisions” (Grachek 1482). Criminal liability cannot be held responsible if the person’s mental disease shows two signs. The first is the person did not have a right state of mind that is required by the offense charged. The other is that the conditions of the general insanity defense must be satisfied (Robinson and Darley 129). There are four main ways that jurors and judges can tell if the defendant is psychologically capable. The first test used by many jurisdictions is the M'Naghten Rule. This is also considered the test of “right-wrong test” (Worth 24). For the M’Naghten Rule, one must not have been able to recognize the na...


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...egal. “Bipolar Disorder Signs & Symptoms.”
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Guenther, David. “The Intersection of Psychology and Law: Exploring Social
Issues and Social Problems Relating to the Insanity Defense.” Academia. 1
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ty_Defense>.
Robinson, Paul H., and John M. Darley. Justice, Liability, and Blame: Community
Views and the Criminal Law. 1st Edition. Boulder, Colorado: Westview
Press, Inc., 1995. Web. 19 Nov. 2013.
ines%20of%20Excuse_When%20Is%20Ones.pdf>.
Maeder, Thomas. Crime and Madness. New York: Harper & Row, Publishers,
1985. Print.



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