The final determination of a mental disease is solely on the jury who uses evidence and information drawn from an expert witness. The result of such a determination places the individual accused, either in a mental facility, incarcerated or released from all charges. Due to the aforementioned factors, there are many problems raised by the insanity defense. Some problems would be the actual possibility of determining mental illness, justify the placement of the judged “mentally ill” offenders and the total usefulness of such a defense. In all it is believed that the insanity defense should be an invalid defense and that it is useless and should potentially be completely abolished.
Basically, the only way for a lawyer to prove his client’s insanity is to try to project what his client was thinking (or not thinking) at the time that the crime was committed. This is usually done by enlisting the testimonies of a psychologists or psychiatrists, who are known as “expert witnesses.” Both legal and mental health professionals have long struggled to establish a clear and acceptable definition of insanity. Insanity is a legal term, not a psychological or medical one. The Sarasons prefer to use the term “maladaptive behavior” instead of insane or insanity. Maladaptive behavior is, “behavior that deals inadequately with a situation, especially one that is stressful” (5).
These tests are each conducted differently. The “M’Naghten Rule” proves that the “defendant either did not understand what he or she did, or failed to distinguish right from wrong, because of a “disease of mind” (Insanity Defense), the “Irresistible Impulse” test proves that because of a mental disorder, the defendant wasn’t able to control an impulse. The “Durham Rule” test states that the defendant’s mental defects result in criminal actions and the “Module Penal Code” tests for legal insanity, which leads us to believe that the defendant could not understand his act... ... middle of paper ... ...kipedia. Insanity Defense FAQs. (n.d.).
The legal test of insanity is set out in M’Naghten’s Case: “to establish a defence…of insanity it must be clearly proved that, at the time of committing the act, the party accused was labouring under such a defect of reason, from disease of the mind, as not to know the nature and quality of the act he was doing, or if he did know it, that he did not know he was doing what was wrong.” To be specific, the defect of reason arises when the defendant is incapable of exercising normal reasoning. The defect of reason requires instability in reasoning rather than a failure to exercise it at a time when exercise of reason is possible. In the case of R v Clarke, the defendant was clinically depressed and in a moment of absent-mindedness, stole items from a supermarket... ... middle of paper ... ...emains on the prosecution to disprove automatism beyond reasonable doubt. It is apparent that insanity, automatism and diminished responsibility share similarities and differences in their range of application and in definition. Insanity and automatism are most similar in that they both are full defences (with different outcomes) which exist when a defendant does not have the necessary actus reus or mens rea, whereas diminished responsibility is a partial defence which only applies to murder.
The legal test of insanity is set out in M’Naghten’s Case as mentioned above: “to establish a defence…of insanity it must be clearly proved that, at the time of committing the act, the party accused was labouring under such a defect of reason, from disease of the mind, as not to know the nature and quality of the act he was doing, or if he did know it, that he did not know he was doing what was wrong.” To be specific, the defect of reason arises when the defendant is incapable of exercising normal reasoning. The defect of reason requires instability in reasoning rather than a failure to exercise it at a time when exercise of reason is possible. In the case of R v Clarke, the defendant was clinically depressed and in a moment of absent-mindedness, stole items from a supermark... ... middle of paper ... ...t it will result in outright acquittal, on the premise that no act is punishable if is done involuntarily. Diminished responsibility is more analogous to insanity than automatism in that the court has discretion in sentencing; however, the outcome of the defence can be distinguished from both. A successful outcome when the defence is raised is reducing liability from murder to manslaughter and consequently removing the mandatory sentence of life imprisonment.
My question was why should Ford get away with murder if he became insane after? After reviewing the cases plea, I began to understand the decision for the reconsideration. It would be inhumane to send someone to their death bed mentally unstable. Ford needed mental help to rationalize what he had done. As Ford grew mentally unstable he should have been granted the right to prove his case, every citizen has rights no matter the crime.
In that same token, if the defense can prove that the defendant is in fact insane, then the individuals sentence should be adjusted accordingly. The defendant would still be guilty, but they would still be sentenced to a mental institution. In summation, the insanity defense is a way for the defendant to avoid liability of a crime, if the individual did not appreciate or understand the nature of the crime committed, and stems a long history from as early as the 12th century to the Model Penal Code of 1972. The effects the insanity plea has on modern society is skewed by the media and how it portrays insanity pleas as more common than they actually are.
The issue of executing mentally ill criminals has been widely debated among the public. They debate on whether it is right or wrong to execute a person who does not possess the capacity to think correctly. The mental illness is an ailment that affects the way a person thinks, feels, behaves and relates to others. The disease is caused by a combination of genetic, psychological, and environmental factors not a personal weakness or a character flaw. A study by the Death Penalty Information Center found that “executing the insane is unconstitutional; however, if an inmate's mental competency has been restored, he or she can then be executed (deathpenalty).” The time has come for us to accept the fact that executing mentally ill offenders is not beneficial to society for many reasons.
The jury ruled him “not guilty by reason of insanity”. The reason for the verdict was M’Naughten... ... middle of paper ... ...eople that went to jail because of the confusion with the insanity defense and the law has become unfavorable towards the insanity defense. As the New York Times says,” Congress barred federal courts from finding defendants legally insane “merely” because they were too mentally ill to have avoided committing the crime.” This means that mentally unstable people are going to jail untreated. The insanity defense has come to questioning our morals. When someone is mentally unstable, do they deserve to be endure the sometimes harsh punishments of our law or should they be treated for their illness in a psychiatric hospital?
Methods such as the Reid technique, are not helping to reach a true confession from the actual culprit but are instead putting innocent people through so much stress and tension that many start to convince themselves that they may have actually committed the crime they are accused of. These people are essentially confessing because they feel trapped and human nature tells us to try to find an escape. Current interrogation methods are hurting the innocent instead of helping