The Insanity Defense : Criminal Liability, Accountability, Or Culpability

1542 Words Jun 30th, 2015 7 Pages
A person’s life has been heinously taken due to no fault of their own. Family and friends of the deceased have mourned, children have lost a parent, parents lost a child, and wives lost a husband. There is no way to ease their pain but, all they want is justice but, will they get it? When the murderer is finally caught the family is elated with joy and anticipate justice will prevail. But, there’s a catch, as the suspect’s defense attorney is claiming he was insane at the time the crime was committed and intends to plead just that. The insanity defense has been around for centuries and has always been the center of debate.
According to Zachary D. Torry and Stephen B. Billick (2007), a crime must have two key attributes evil intent (mens rea) and action (actus rea). The prosecution must be able to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused committed the crime. Their proof must show that the accused has criminal liability, accountability, or culpability (Pg. 255). In the absence of one or both of the attributes the insanity may be used. To begin with, as stated by Torry and Billick, the insanity defense was used as far back as 1581 when there was a legal note in place for those who could distinguish the difference between right and wrong and those who could not (Pg. 256). By the Eighteenth Century the insanity defense was distinguished by, if the accused could only understand the ramifications of what he had done like an infant or even a wild animal would, then he would…

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