Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity: a Look Into the Insanity Defense

1956 Words Apr 18th, 2011 8 Pages
Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity: A Look into the Insanity Defense On Friday, March 3, 1843, the trial of The Queen v. Daniel McNaughton (West, Walk 12) began. The verdict of this trail changed the way the civilized world views the criminally insane. People who were criminally insane went from being viewed as evil and wild beasts to people who could not be held accountable for their actions at the time of the crime they committed. As time progressed, the insanity defense became an acceptable defense and rules were laid forth on how to declare people criminally insane. In this essay I will give the events responsible for the McNaughton trial and explain how it’s proceedings and verdict helped set forth the ground rules for the …show more content…
What is the law respecting the alleged crimes committed by persons afflicted with insane delusion, in respect of one or more particular subjects or persons: as, for instance, where at the time of the commission of the alleged crime, the accused knew he was acting contrary to law, but did the act complained of with a view, under the influence of insane delusion, of redressing or revenging some supposed grievance or injury, or of producing some supposed public benefit? 2d. What are the proper questions to be submitted to the jury, when a person alleged to be afflicted with insane delusion respecting one or more particular subjects or persons, is charged with the commission of a crime (murder, for example), and insanity is set up as a defense? 3d. In what terms ought the question be left to the jury, as to the prisoner's state of mind at the time when the act was committed? 4th. If a person under an insane delusion as to existing facts, commits an offence in consequence thereof, is he thereby excused? 5th. Can a medical man conversant with the disease of insanity, who never saw the prisoner previously to the trial, but who was present during the whole trial and the examination of witnesses, be asked his opinion as to the state of the prisoner's mind at the time of the commission of the alleged crime, or his opinion whether the prisoner was conscious at the time of doing the act, that he was

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