What is the insanity defense exactly? The insanity defense can be defined as “A defense asserted by an accused in a criminal prosecution to avoid liability for the commission of a crime, whereas at the time of the crime, the person did not appreciate the nature, quality, or wrongdoing of the acts.” In order to understand the insanity defense in its entirety, we must define other forms of it. The uttermost common variation is cognitive insanity which is where the defendant is profoundly impaired by a mental disease/defect at the time of the crime that he or she did not understand or appreciate the nature of the act committed or just didn’t know what they had done was wrong. Another form of insanity is called volitional insanity, or irresistible impulse. In addition, volitional insanity is essentially the same as the insanity plea, but with one critical difference, and that is, unlike the insanity plea whereas the defendant does not understand right from wrong, the irresistible impulse is when the defendant can discern between what is right and what is wrong. Furthermore, insanity should not be confused with incompetency, in that there is one key difference. The key difference is that that the incompetent defendant is ordered to a mental institution until they are deemed fit to proceed in the trial, whereas in insanity, the defendant is not and will not e...
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...e phrase “not guilty by reason of insanity” in outdated. If the court established that the defendant did commit the crime, with no reasonable doubt such as Eddie Ray Routh, then the individual is overwhelmingly guilty. 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.
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- Richard Bonnie, a Professor of law and psychiatry, leans on yes -- insanity should indeed exist as a legal defense for criminals. However, his stance on the matter focuses more on a modified variation of the existing defense used in the courts, as the defense maneuver is crucial in maintaining moral integrity of criminal law (Bonnie, 1982, p. 308). He begins with a suggestion to consider the case of John Hinckley. While hearing his argument for the insanity defense, it is mentioned how the media takes on many cases, such as Hinckley's own case, and coupled with a lack of disagreement among experts in the psychiatric field, the media has had a negative influence on the overall depiction of th... [tags: richard bonnie, criminal law, insanity defense]
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