A Crime Of Insanity Article Analysis

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The article on A Crime of Insanity (Frontline, 2002), describes the whole process of determining the causes of action for individuals who have a mental illness at the time of committing heinous crimes. This article, in particular, covers the story of Ralph Tortorici, who has a history of mental disorder from as early as his adolescent years. Moreover, Ralph suffers from regular acute paranoid delusions and psychotic behavior, which prompted him to seek help from the University health facility and also from a New York state trooper. On both occasions, he complains of a government conspiracy which he feels is responsible for implanting a computer microchip on him. Having failed to secure any help from anyone, he takes matters into his own hands …show more content…
Mr. Lynch, according to the excerpts from his interview after the trial, argues that Ralph was suffering and did not get the medical assistance he was seeking. Thus, the hostage-taking incident was a way of getting the attention Ralph had once needed but to no avail. The psychiatric evaluation on Ralph by Dr. Lawrence Siegel, clearly states that he is incompetent to stand trial. On the other hand, Dr. Siegel’s determination on Ralph’s mental illness indicated that he was suffering from an acute psychotic delusion that made it even difficult to determine his mental state at the time of the crime. His recommendation for the prosecution was that Ralph was not able to continue with the trial. According to Bartol and Bartol (2011, p. 244) if an individual pleads not guilty by the circumstance of insanity, then the psychiatric evaluation should be focused on the individual 's mental state at the time of the crime. This basis is very much in line with the recommendation of Dr. Siegel in his letter to the …show more content…
214). According to his attorney, Ralph did not deserve a jail sentence, but rather should have been put in a psychiatric institution to assist with his mental disease. Also, the prosecution relied solely on the fear of the jury based on the fear of letting a criminal back on the streets sooner or later, or the fact that most mental illness cases are most common in use as mitigating factors in doling out sentences, which was not factual in the case of Ralph. Lastly, the court of law did not protect the rights of an individual battling with a mental disorder. The jury and court should have determined Ralph’s case with a lot of sensitivity and give a probable not guilty by reason of insanity as outlined by Bartol & Bartol (2011, p.

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