Model Of Insanity Defense

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Many people may believe they know about the insanity defense as it has been brought to the public’s eye in many popular trials. For example, the cases of John Hinckley, who attempted to murder President Ronald Reagan, and Andrea Yates, who drowned her five young children, were highly publicized cases where the defendant was found guilty by reason of insanity. While many people may be familiar with these cases or similar ones, the insanity defense is highly misunderstood and disliked. To help judges and juries conclude whether a person is insane, three models have been devised. There is a wide variety of tests from state to state; however, they all typically revolve around one of the three models. The models include the M’Naghten rule, the Durham…show more content…
The name of this model comes directly from a court case. Daniel M’Naghten believed he was being maltreated by the Tories, a political party in England, and thought the main person behind it all was the Prime Minister. As a result of this fear, M’Naghten shot into the prime minister’s carriage but ended up killing a secretary, Edward Drummond instead. At the time of this crime, the law in place declared that if defendants were mentally ill, they could not resist impulses to commit deviant acts and M’Naghten was found to be insane. His acquittal led to the development of a standard that required that at the time of the crime, defendants knew the difference between right and wrong and that what they were doing was wrong. This standard rule has come to be known as the “right/wrong test”. Common-court judges have noted that is M’Naghten had been tried under this standard that he would not have been deemed freed of responsibility because he in fact knew the difference between right and wrong when he committed the…show more content…
After using the Durham Rule unhappily for 18 years, Judge Bazelon ended its use in federal courts. The court replaced it with a modification of the 1962 draft of the Model Penal Code rule formulated by the American Law Institute, which is now known as the ALI/Brawner Rule. This rule states, “a person is not responsible for criminal conduct if at the time of such conduct as a result of mental disease or defect he lacks substantial capacity either to appreciate the criminality of his conduct or to conform his conduct to the requirements of the law”. Also, this rule states that the terms “mental disease or defect” do not include an abnormality manifested by only repeated criminal or antisocial conduct. This was instituted to disallow insanity for psychopaths/sociopaths who habitually violate the law. The court specified that the “mental disease” or “defect” must affect metal or emotional processes or impair behavioral
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