Insanity And The Insanity Defense Essays

Insanity And The Insanity Defense Essays

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Insanity. When some people think of the word “insanity”, television shows comparable to Law and Order and NCIS may come into mind. Due to some of these shows, one may not fully comprehend what is insanity. In this paper I will discuss what insanity, a brief history of insanity and how it impacts today’s society, furthermore, I will also discuss my personal thoughts on the subject.
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...e phrase “not guilty by reason of insanity” in outdated.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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