The 1984 Insanity Defense Reform Act was passed by Congress after an infamous trial that shocked the United States. United States v. Hinckley was notorious because it was one of the rare cases where the insanity defense worked and the defendant was found not guilty by reason of insanity. The result of this case caused a huge public outcry against the insanity defense. Debate began to form over how to amend the insanity defense. This paper will critically analyze three scholarly journals. Each journal addresses aspects of United States v. Hinckley and the Insanity Defense Reform Act that would follow. The three journal articles that will be reviewed are: The Insanity Defense Reform Act of 1984: Much Ado About Nothing by Norman Finkel, Bringing …show more content…
This article talked a great deal about how the rules and procedures when it comes to the insanity defense are inconsistent and unclear. United States v. Hinckley showed the public how inconsistent and unclear the criminal procedures are. The article provided a statement from a juror involved in the Hinckley case. The gist of the statement was that even the experts used in the trial could not determine the defendant’s sanity, which made it even harder for the jurors to determine as well. The combination of confusing expert testimony and how the law was written were the cause of the not guilty verdict. The authors stated that the public blamed the instructions and were surprised by the verdict. The authors stated the reason why was because the jurors literally followed the law. They stated that the public presumed that the jurors would find Hinckley guilty, due to the factual guilt. Another deficit brought up by the authors, is the procedures when committing someone. Often times when a person is found not guilty of insanity they are taken to a mental institution. They soon get treated and then every so often they get a release hearing. Both authors brought up the fact that at the hearings, the roles reverse and the defense has to prove sanity and the government has to prove insanity, which only adds fuel to the confusion and contradictions. The authors agree that the …show more content…
I agree that the insanity defense is morally right. There are defects of the system. However, the criminal justice system’s foundation is made up of moral integrity. As a society we have decided to excuse those who lack the moral capabilities to know right from wrong. The murkiness of the system should not automatically equate to the abolishment of the defense. I agree with the author’s counter argument to the criticism of the defense being discriminatory towards those who are poor. The comparison is moot. The line between a poor person under extreme duress and a mentally ill person can be blurred at times. However, if a poor person commits a crime and are deemed mentally ill then, they should be excused. That is what society has deemed acceptable. It is not because society is cruel it is because we have decided that everyone should be acceptable for their actions, with the exception of individuals with mental illnesses. Also agree with the author when he stated that the effectiveness of the system would not be better if the defense was abolished. The efficiency of the system would not be contingent on the abolishment of the insanity defense. There are other problems that conflict the system and make it just as ineffective. The author’s argument that the new test that should be created should not be determinately defined is quite broad. The author should be a lot more specific when they talk about that the new test
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Dr. Mark Nolan, Senior Lecturer at ANU College of Law, says that the NGRI plea “enables defendants to avoid criminal liability and standard criminal punishment” (Nolan 8). The main disagreement with America is the focus whether if the “guilty defendant” pursues to misuse the “Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity” as an alternative to imprisonment or if the criminally accused was at the time of committing the crime “clinically insane” and in need psychotherapy. Therefore, during this discussion of opposing viewpoints concerning the insanity defense being misused or ethical are going to be
Tuan Taruselli-Stormes Professor Monica Swaner English 102 February 20, 2017 A Rhetorical Analysis of “State of Oregon v. Kipland Philip Kinkel” October 16, 2002, P.J. Haselton filed court documents from the case of Kipland Philip Kinkel. This was a trial based on the 111 years and 8 months’ life term sentence Kinkel had received form an earlier trial for four counts of murder and 26 counts of attempted murder. Through this trial, they recapped the original trial, and deliberated over the evidence presented by Mr. Kinkel’s lawyers. Judge Haselton entertained the courts with their premises for grounds of inhumane violations of article I, section 15, and Article I, section 16, of the Oregon State Constitution.
When it comes to the case Miller V. State, I believe that trial court refused to give the jury instructions regarding the insanity defense, which the defendant wished to have comunicated, because they wanted the jury to be able to decide imoartially. Miller was examined by three medical experts and they concluded that Miller satisfied the M'naughten insanity test when he stabbed Goring. The district court had instructed the jury to determine whether Miller was actually legally insane when he stabbed Goring. They wanted the jury to find proof of insanity at that time, and to also consider Miller's mental condition "before and after the killing to throw light on what Miller's mental condition was at the time of the killing" (Schmalleger
At the 2002 trial, Yates pleaded not guilty, by using the insanity defense. The insanity defense argues that an individual should not be found guilty of a crime if they have a persistent psychiatric disease at the time the crime was committed. It was proved that Yates could tell right from wrong, so she did not meet the definition of the insanity in Texas (Walsh). The jury deliberated for almost four hours, and finally found Yates guilty. The jury rejected her insanity defense, and Yates was sentenced to life in prison.
This phase caused three different psychiatrists to come in and testify on Brom’s mental state. The testimonies would be held up against the M'Naghten Rule. The 140 year old standard which holds that a criminal defendant can’t be held responsible for a crime if he did not know the nature of his act or that it was morally wrong. There was a huge argument in this case over whether or not David Brom was mentally insane. Seven out of the eight health professionals who evaluated David found him to be mentally competent.
There is also an inclination to believe that if he had not suffered from this state, then the offence would not have been committed, specially not in the barbaric way it was done. Thus, it cannot be concluded that the accused willfully preformed the act, nor that the mens rea and the actus reus coincided while he was not in a psychotic state. (Roach, 113) Related to this finding is another element that supports the verdict of the Honorable Judge, which is the Principle of Fundamental Justice that states that no one should be “punished for morally involuntary actions.” (Roach, 82) A person who successfully raises the mental disorder defence is considered to be morally innocent of the act because they were not acting freely, in this case, free from psychotic ideations.
Texas holds the title for the state with most executions in the United States gaining heavy scrutiny for the use of death penalty. Many are concerned that the death penalty is in direct violation of the 8th amendment of the constitution which forbids the act of cruel and unusual punishment as well as being wrong on a moral level. This becomes a hot button issue when mental illness comes into play as 30% of Texas's incarcerated inmates, have been clients of the state’s mental health system (“Texas Death Penalty”). Andre Lee Thomas is one of those inmates, sentenced to death, but also deemed mentally unstable.
Arguing for insanity, Darrow’s imagery reopens deep scars in the jury as he passionately recalls the war between Americans, a war so devastating, so bloody, so amoral, that it wounds the Leopold and Loeb boys beyond repair – beyond the point of human sympathy, a sympathy robbed of them by the culture they are raised in – the culture that disregards the value of human life. Darrow’s use of exaggeration and discussion of an institutional system of warmongering enforces his pathos upon the jury, as he reinterprets Leopold and Loeb’s senseless killing as an act of insanity. Utilizing the war as a cause for madness, Darrow discusses how during this ongoing atrocity, “we were fed on flesh and drank blood” (Darrow). Darrow exaggerates these war crimes so as to further his point that not only did the Leopold and Loeb boys witness these acts, but are warped by them to the point of insanity, a breaking point caused not by their own fault, but by society-at-large as Darrow transfers this guilt on to the jury. The insanity plea works two-fold as it not only eliminates the boys’ responsibility for their actions, but also lays blame on the entire jury, preventing them from indicting the boys without indicting themselves also.
The court dismisses the plea quickly because “the justice system ignores psychosocial complexities and histories in favor of black and white definitions of right and wrong” (Myers). The justice system in this time very rarely accepted pleas of insanity or mental illness. Capote wrote that “after an hour’s conversation with the defendants, the doctor rule[d] out that neither man
In “The Brain on Trial”, David Eagleman claims that the justice system needs to change its sentencing policies due to the discoveries of neurobiological diseases that cause their sufferers to behave in socially unacceptable ways and/or commit crimes. Eagleman uses a variety of rhetorical strategies to present his viewpoint. The most important one is his appeal to logic. By using mostly examples, along with direct address to the readers, Eagleman is able to argue that the legal system has to modify its sentencing policies to take into account the advances made in neuroscience due to the increase in the amount of accused and/or convicted people who have been found to have harbored some kind of brain disease or damage. Eagleman
Yet, there is a significant proportion of death row inmates are mentally ill and the research evidence found suggests that mental illness is often, in fact, an aggravating factor as far as capital sentencing bodies are concerned. The Supreme Court eventually came to the conclusion of this: “If it is cruel and unusual punishment to hold convicted criminals in unsafe conditions, it must be unconstitutional to confine the involuntarily committed - who may not be punished at all - in unsafe conditions” (French, 2005) There are rights that each individual has, and there needs to be guidelines to make sure each person is treated fairly, even if they do not deserve such
The M'Naghten Rule states that the only proof of insanity is if a person is unable to distinguish between right and wrong at the time they commit a crime. Under this law, many mental insane people are classified as sane because they show no physical prominent issues. (Capote, Conversations 129-130)The M'Naghten rule plays a giant role in the novel In Cold Blood. A doctor is put on the stand during the trial of Dick and Perry to testify regarding their mental illnesses. The novel states, " It was hopeless because though Dr.Jones agreed to elaborate, the prosecution was entitled to object -- and did, citing the fact that Kansas law allowed nothing more than a yes or no reply to that pertinent