The Court Of The Insanity Defense

1451 WordsFeb 3, 20156 Pages
The standard for the insanity defense arose in the British courts in 1834 when a woodturner named Daniel M’Naghten shot and killed the secretary of England’s Prime Minister. The insanity defense is a difficult, but occasionally successful defense system in a court of law. The law varies from state to state however, the idea remains the same. The defense allows a small number of defendants to get out of a crime if they are deemed legally insane. Only being approximately 180 years old, the insanity defense allows a defendant to plead not guilty based in their mental state at the time of the crime, the lawyer to run tests to determine their mental state, and a select number of notorious criminals to abstain from being incarcerated. The not guilty by reason of insanity verdict rests on the beliefs that some mentally ill can not be discouraged by the threat of punishment, and that treatment for the defendant is more likely to protect society than a jail term without treatment. A judge or jury must evaluate the defendant 's mental state at the time of the crime before they can be found not guilty. If found not guilty, a judge will commit a defendant to treatment centers until a mental health official determines that they are no longer a threat to anyone. There are very few not guilty by reason of insanity cases that are successful, only 0.85% of defendants actually raise the insanity defense nationwide. Defendants that are found not guilty by reason of insanity tend to spend more

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