Insanity And The Insanity Defense

1444 Words Apr 26th, 2015 6 Pages
In criminal cases where an insanity defense is used, the defense must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was not responsible for his or her actions during a mental health breakdown. There are two forms of an insanity defense, cognitive and volitional. In order for an individual to meet the requirements for cognitive insanity it must be proven that the defendant had to be so impaired by a mental disease at the time of the act that they did not know the nature of what they were doing. If they are fully aware of their actions, one must prove that they didn’t know what they were doing was wrong. Volitional insanity, also known as irresistible impulse, states that the defendant is able to differentiate between right or wrong at the time, but suffered from a mental disease that made them unable to control themselves. Volitional insanity is common in crimes of vengeance, where very few states allow the use of this defense. The insanity defense should not be confused with incompetency. In incompetency cases, the individual is not able to understand the nature and consequences of the case, nor adequately able to help an attorney with his or her defense. The insanity defense reflects the approach that an individual who can’t acknowledge the consequences of their actions should not be punished for the crime. In most jurisdictions a professional is bought in to determine if the defendant was not able to differentiate between right or wrong at the time of the…
Open Document