Essay on The Insanity Of Insanity Defense

836 Words Jul 18th, 2015 4 Pages
Insanity Defense
When a crime is committed the person responsible must enter a plea of guilty or not guilty, but what does it mean to enter a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity? Entering into a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity is claiming that you cannot be held responsible for the crime committed due to the fact that you were mentally unstable when it occurred. In other words, saying that you literally went insane (FindLaw). In cases such as these it is very possible to still be found guilty but a person’s punishment could be lesser than simply being found just “guilty.”
A person is not able to just enter this type of plea if they please, there is much more to the process than that. For instance, the defendant must prove to the judge that they truly did not understand what they were doing or that they acted in a lawless way due to their mental state. Some people try to use this plea even when it doesn’t pertain to their particular case, in hopes they don’t have to do so many years in a state or federal prison.
There are multiple different tests that courts will use to test if the defendant was criminally insane at the time of their crime. One of the tests is called M’Naghten Rule, before this rule ever existed, Stephanie Lee writes that Ancient Hebrew laws said, “idiots, lunatics and children are unable to tell the difference between good and evil thus relieving them of responsibility for their actions” (Garrison, 1998). However; this all changed in 1843…

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