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The Insanity Plea By James Eagan Holmes

Decent Essays
The insanity plea has been around since 1843 when it was first used in London during the M’Naghten case. The insanity plea made its first appearance in the United States in 1859 after Congressman Daniel Sickles murdered the man who his wife was having an affair with. However, a more recent and rather public use of the insanity plea is against James Eagan Holmes. James is being charged with murder and attempted murder after he maliciously attacked an Aurora Colorado movie theatre in 2012. James shot and killed 12 people and wounded 70 others. According to one source (2011, Black’s Law, Bryan A. Garner) insanity is “Any mental disorder sever enough that it prevents a person from having legal capacity and excuses the person from criminal or civil responsibility, insanity is a legal, not a medical, standard.” Another source states “In order for one person to be considered for the insanity plea, they must have a psychiatric evaluation and prove they were insane during the committing of the crime.”(1965, Psychiatric Justice, Thomas S. Szasz, M.D) If someone pleads not guilty by reason of insanity, than they undergo mental rehabilitation. The length of time in the mental rehabilitation is determined by how long it takes the individual to be mentally prepared to re-appear in court. After the individual is fit for re-trial, the individual returns to court and will than plead guilty or not guilty. In most trials, the defendant serves a punishment that is not as severe as it was
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