Mad About The Insanity Defense Essay, Research Paper

Mad about the Insanity Defense

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Today in our legal system, there are many questionable defence tactics. They are

designed to protect the rights of the charged, and farther the cause of justness. However, in many

instances this improvement of justness has been taken excessively far, and therefore supplications such as & # 8220 ; Temporary

insanity & # 8221 ; are born. Indeed, as will be proven, the insanity defence in itself has been stretched

about to its interrupting point. The insanity defence will be critically examined, here, and proven

in some instances necessary while others have no right utilizing the supplication.

The history of the insanity defence goes back every bit far as authorities. Yet as Thomas

Maeder stated in his book Crime and Madness, the Origins and Evolutions of the Insanity

Defense, surprisingly plenty, & # 8220 ; Throughout most of history there have been no specific standards

for exculpatory insanity & # 8221 ; ( 3 ) . In antediluvian Hebrew times, as Maeder notes, the jurisprudence merely provinces

that imbeciles, madmans, and kids below a given age are non to be held reprehensively responsible ( 3 ) .

Indeed, in Ancient Greek and Roman civilizations, nil has survived to demo any adaptation to this

exclusion, salvage a portion of Plato & # 8217 ; s Laws ( 3 ) . Platos Laws says that if a suspect is doddering, a kid

or proven insane he should be responsible for no more than the payment of civil amendss,

& # 8220 ; Except that if he has killed person and his custodies are polluted by slaying he must go to a

topographic point in another state and live at that place in expatriate for a twelvemonth & # 8221 ; ( Maeder 3 ) . Furthermore, there are

scarce hints of early insanity instances, therefore it is hard to do generalisations about the defence,

yet there have been some celebrated instances where the suspect was sentenced to life in prison

( Maeder 4 ) . & # 8220 ; By the 15th century & # 8230 ; If the suspect had committed the act, they had to

inmate ; if he was insane, or a minor, or had killed in self-defence, they could urge

clemency & # 8230 ; & # 8221 ; ( Maeder 5 ) . In the 16th century, nevertheless, the jury gained the power to come in a

& # 8220 ; Special Verdict & # 8221 ; if they felt the instance warranted. By the 17th century, the insanity

defence was steadfastly in topographic point, therefore this supplication was normally accepted. The insanity defence reflects

a via media on the portion of society and the jurisprudence. On the one manus, society believes that felons

should be punished for their offenses ; on the other manus, society believes that people who are sick

should recieve intervention for their unwellness. The insanity defence is the via media: Basically, it

reflects society & # 8217 ; s belief that the jurisprudence should non penalize suspects who are mentally incapable of

commanding their behavior. In the 18th century, the legal criterions for the insanity defence

were varied. Some tribunals looked to whether the suspect could separate between good and

immoralities, while others asked whether the suspect & # 8220 ; did non cognize what he did. & # 8221 ; By the nineteenth

century, it was by and large accepted that insanity was a inquiry of fact, which was left to the jury

to make up one’s mind.

Today in 20th century, we still have great scruples about the insanity defence.

Although we no longer debate what to make with our insane community, we do debate if one is

insane. Indeed, we have even created alibis for the sane to be & # 8220 ; Temporarily Insane & # 8221 ; , and all of

this is extremely arguable. In fact, as Gordon Witkn stated in his article & # 8220 ; What does it take to be

loony? & # 8221 ; & # 8220 ; About 17 provinces now allow finding of facts of & # 8216 ; Guilty but Mentally ill & # 8217 ; , which holds a

suspect responsible while supplying for mental intervention in prison & # 8230 ; at least three provinces –

Montana, Idaho, and Utah & # 8211 ; hold abolished the insanity defence wholly & # 8230 ; & # 8221 ; ( 7 ) . Thus the tendency

that one can get away terrible penalty through the insanity defence is going less and less

executable. Furthermore, this defence is rarely used and seldom successful today ( Witkin 7 ) .

Many persons have gone unpunished. As Allen Brownsfield stated in his article

& # 8220 ; Defense Attorneys Mad About the Insanity Defense & # 8221 ; in Human Events, June 3,1994, page 10,

& # 8220 ; & # 8230 ; Lawyers are fixing a defence for Collin Ferguson, the Long Island mass-murderer. His

lawyer, extremist militant William Kunstler, argues that American racism drove Ferguson

insane & # 8230 ; & # 8221 ; This adult male had created an about ludicrous supplication to pardon his obvious hatred towards

Caucasic Americans. More and more luxuriant ways of get awaying penalty are being created

and the inquiry truly is when tungsten

ill this halt? Another upseting instance is portrayed in Milwaukee

where a defence lawyer announced that she may utilize a defence of & # 8220 ; Cultural Psychosis & # 8221 ; for a

teenage miss who had shot and killed another in a battle over a coat ( Brownsfield 10 ) .

The Insanity Defense has non merely been used as a tool for evidently guilty persons to

flight penalty it is besides below the belt administered. Truly, in many instances people who are

absolutely lucid use the defence successfully claiming they are & # 8220 ; Temporarily Insane. & # 8221 ; While those

who the supplication was intended for, suffer the worst of destinies due to their deficiency of clarity to support

themselves. One such obvious instance is the ill-famed & # 8220 ; Twinkie Defense & # 8221 ; . This is one illustration of

the insanity supplication gone amuk where the suspect got off with slaying by utilizing his junkfood

diet ( Twinkies ) as ground for his & # 8220 ; Snap. & # 8221 ; If one can clam that junkfood drove him to slay

where will this halt? Indeed merely a measure up would be a wife-batterer who beat his married woman so bad he

killed her, would utilize a defence that his married woman & # 8217 ; s temperament drove him to slay her by

& # 8220 ; Temporary Insanity. & # 8221 ; Another good known instance is of Senator Ted Kennedy who successfully

used a supplication of impermanent insanity when a adult female was found dead in his auto that he had wrecked

and abandoned over dark. From these two illustrations the case in point becomes clear, creativeness,

wealth and position are the taking factors in the success in of the insanity defence. As Lincoln

Caplan in the book The Insanity Defense and the Trial of John W. Hinckley, Jr. in the instance of

John Hinckley, he had successfully used the impermanent insanity supplication in the attempted slaying of

even our ain President! ( 100 ) Today Hinkley resides in a mental infirmary where late he was

awarded household trial, while if he were in prison he would ne’er hold got these privileges.

In resistance, it is claimed that the insanity defence is seldom used, harmonizing to one

eight-state survey ( reported in the Bulletin of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law,

Vol. 19, No. 4, 1991 ) , the insanity defence was used in less than one per centum of the instances.

However, the copiousness of the unfairness is less eventful than the fact that the unfairness has

occurred. Why should our justness system overlook a loop-hole for felons to get away

penalty merely because it isn & # 8217 ; T used frequently? Is occasional bondage incorrect? Of class. It is besides

argued, harmonizing to Dr. Dorothy Otnow Lewis from a New York Times book study by

Christopher Lehmann-haupt, that slayers heads are horrifically abused and are merely making as

others have done to them. ( 2 ) She claims that each wrongdoer acted unconsciously without any

rational cognition of what he or she had done. & # 8220 ; She argues that each was insane by any

sensible definition. Yet in the instances where these slayers had been convicted and condemned to

decease, tribunals hearing the consequences of the writer & # 8217 ; s scrutinies refused to profess mitigating

fortunes and grant mildness. The slayers were treated as if they knew what they were

doing. & # 8221 ; ( 2 ) It is non merely to assoil persons who killed 10s of people merely because they were

non wholly limpid. Indeed a isolation similar to prison is in order to protect the remainder of society

from their lunacy. Therefore handling slayers who arguably are insane as if they knew what they

were making International Relations and Security Network & # 8217 ; t incorrect. It & # 8217 ; s merely.

The insanity defence is a necessary tool to rightly cover with the insane. However, the issue

on who is genuinely insane or even temporarily insane is up for grabs. The supplication is used unjustly in

many ways as case in point shows. Furthermore many would state that this rare supplication is used rightly

whenever used but it is apparent that farther rectification is in order. It is a shame of those people

who were unjustly killed & # 8230 ; & # 8221 ; Of all sad words of lingua or write, the saddest are these & # 8216 ; it might

hold been. & # 8217 ; & # 8221 ; ~John Greenleaf Whittier

Maeder, Thomas. Crime and Madness, the Orgins and Evolution of the Insanity Defense.

Harper and Row, Publishers, New York, 1985

Witkin, Gordon. & # 8220 ; What does it take to be crazy? & # 8221 ; U.S News & A ; Report 12 Jan.1998: Pg7

Brownfield, Allan. & # 8220 ; Defense lawyers mad about the insanity defense. & # 8221 ; Human Events

3 June 1994: Pg.7

Caplan, Lincoln. The Insanity Defense, And the Trial of John W. Hinckley, Jr. David R.

Godine, Boston, 1984

Lehmann-Haupt, Christopher. & # 8220 ; Books of the Times. & # 8221 ; The New York Times 24 June, 24

1998: Pg.1