Insanity Defense Essay

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Often referred to as the founding moment of the insanity defense, Daniel M’Naghten was acquitted for the death of the Prime Minister’s secretary Edward Drummond. M’Naghten fired at point blank range, hitting Drummond in the back after mistaking him for the Prime Minister Robert Peel. The story of Queen Victoria 's explicit anger at the acquittal of M’Naghten (shared by the public as a reflection on an irrational legal system which could "acquit" a defendant whom "everyone knew" was guilty) has been told over time and in courtrooms across the world (Perlin). Richard Kling, a professor at Chicago Kent College of Law, said that jurors’ skepticism is rooted in beliefs that an insanity defense “is something a guilty person uses to get away with murder” (Lat). In the case of Eddie Routh, a man who shot "American Sniper" Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield at a Texas gun range in…show more content…
Another defense sometimes used by prosecutors is the plea of "temporary insanity"; this essentially amounts to a claim of a crime of passion. In an eerily similar manner to crimes committed under the influence of PTSD, this defense is used for someone who had a temporary loss of being able to tell right from wrong due to an extreme traumatic experience. Most jurors are unsympathetic to this claim (Rubinstein). The largely unseen counter worlds of empirical reality, behavioral advance, scientific discovery, and philosophical inquiry paint quite a different picture. Empirically, the insanity defense is rarely used, is less frequently successful, and generally results in maximum security facilities (often far more restrictive than prisons or reformatories) for far longer periods of time than the defendants would have been subject to had they been sentenced criminally (Perlin.) Dr. Ronald Markman, a psychiatrist who evaluates defendants and provides expert testimony in court cases, said “an insanity defense is introduced in less than 1 percent of all criminal cases in the state of California”
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