The Insanity Defense Christian Hopkins Intro to the Legal Process 1020 L01 Leo Rowe March 15th, 2017 The insanity defense is used by criminals who plead that they are mentally insane to avoid a more serious sentence. In most of the insanity defense cases, the defendant typically has some sort of mental issue during the time of the crime that caused them to commit the crime. “A criminal defendant who is found to have been legally insane when he or she committed a crime may be found not guilty by reason of insanity. In some cases, the defendant may be found guilty but sentenced to a less severe punishment due to a mental impairment” (Reuters). There are countless reasons to why an individual might plead to be criminally insane.
Plea bargain is an ethical issue stated in the documentary Plea bargain. The plea bargain documentary explains how pleading guilty in a plea bargain is a way to get a reduced sentence or get out free of a charge. At times taking the plea bargain might not be the best option but sometimes it’s the only choice. According to the prongs of deontological perspective, pleading guilty is a solution to be let out free, a reduced charge and dismissed a charge off.
Throughout my life, I have made it my utmost duty to never appear in front of a judge under any circumstances. On April 12, 2017, I visited the Queens criminal court located on 125-01 Queens Boulevard Kew Gardens, NY 11415 and found myself sitting in the last bench seat available. The reason for be being there was to collect as much information as possible on the number, race, approximate age, gender, charge and disposition of each case. Please note that these individuals are ordinary citizens like me, who were arrested for low-level crimes (violations and misdemeanors) in NYC. The data collected would help me write a three page paper on my experience there and help me relate to the online readings in class.
The law code of Hammurabi, recognized as the first set of rules of laws to exist in human civilization, was written during the ancient Mesopotamia time in 1745BC. The Babylonian law code is a collection of 282 laws carved into a stone. It was discovered in a stone pillar. The code of law was thought to maintain law and order of the ever growing empire under the rules of Hammurabi. Some of the laws are thought to be extremely cruel and unusual in the eyes of the modern American society.
Houston, Texas, was home to Andrea Yates; a wife and a mother to Randy Yates and their five children. One morning in the year 2001, she dialed, 911 breathing heavily into the phone “I need a police officer,” (O’Malley). The news over Andrea Yates drowning her children spread like wildfire across the nation, horrifying Americans. Following her confession, she pleaded innocent with the “Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity” (NGRI) plea, yet the jury rejected her appeal and found her guilty of five accounts of first-degree murder. However, in the retrial of 2006, Yates’ abiding murder convictions were overturned, and Andrea Yates was found NGRI.
1. According to Robinson (2014), Cesare Beccaria who was an Italian mathematician in the 18th century and the English philosopher, Jeremy Bentham were the major contributors of the classical school of Criminology. This approach was developed explain crime and criminal behavior (Burke, H. R 2014). This suggest that the criminal behavior is a matter of personal choice that is made when a person has effectively considered the costs and benefits (Siegel, L.J. 2008).
The punishment fits the crime. That statement conforms to the ideas of a system know as retributive justice. Retributive justice is rooted in proportionality. This means that a punishment should be to the same degree of ones sin. This system appeals to me personally because it avoids giving people the chance to seak revenge.
Picture this: It is July 17, 1988; it seems like a regular summer day and instead of going to bed you decide to stay up to until your daughter comes back from her boyfriend’s house. She seemed a little later than usual and didn’t come home at 11:30 like she was supposed to. A little after 12:30 you get a call from the police, your teenage daughter has been shot and killed along with three others on Old Salisbury Road. The teenager was Crystal Cantrell and that story was her mother’s, Linda Cantrell. Thanks to the shooter, Michael Hayes, Crystal will never have children, marry, or even go to college.
The legal definition according to the book is “The principal legal doctrine permitting consideration of mental abnormality in assessing criminal liability.” According to google it says it is the state of being seriously mentally ill. One other definition I have heard was from Einstein, and that was that “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Insanity refers to the defendant’s mental state at the time the offense was committed. The insanity defense is most often used in cases in which the defendant is charged with a violent felony.
Mental illness significantly affects many around the world. In fact, about four-hundred and fifty million people worldwide suffer from one or more of the different known mental illnesses. That is one in every four people. Severe mental health issues such as severe anxiety disorder, antisocial personality disorder, schizophrenia, or sensory perception disorder are illnesses which are common among the people responsible for the numerous mass shootings in America. Many believe the possession of firearms in the hands of the mentally ill are the real cause of mass shootings.
A case can be changed due to the call of the insanity plea. Nevertheless, This may cause a possible difference to the charge of the defence. In a court case dealing with murder such as the issue with the Clutter family, the Insanity plea was brought into thought to test if Perry and Dick were mentally stable during that time. By definition, the insanity plea is an argument stating the defense was not responsible for their actions due to a psychiatric disease at the time of the act, consequently, making him/her unaware of the occurring actions moreover the later consequences. In the book, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, the main characters Perry and Dick killed the Clutter family committing the crime of the century.
If an insanity plea is successful, it can be implied that mental illnesses can be dangerous or harmful. Also, that the person with the mental illness is going to be treated and hopefully learn how to handle such an illness. Then perhaps that person can go free after a while. On the other hand, if an insanity plea is unsuccessful, then it can be implied that the person with the illness may not get treatment. Although, if the person is just using a mental illness as an excuse, then he or she is giving other people with a mental illness a bad name.