Controversy over the insanity defense essay
According to the criminal law, the insanity defense is defense by excuse, when a defendant tries to prove that he/she should not be held criminally liable for the an act, because he/she was legally insane at the time when crime was committed. To prove this a defendant must in most cases undergo medical examination. What is understood by “insane” in legal sense is not exactly the same as psychiatric definition of “mentally ill.” If insanity is proven, a defendant must be admitted to a psychiatric institution.
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There are also opponents of insanity defense, who consider that it should not exist at all and a person should be punished fairly for his or her deeds. Insanity defense, on the contrary, only lets people escape imprisonment. Some people consider that insanity should not be an excuse for punishment.
People tend to think that insanity defense is used far too often, however, it is not exactly so. The insanity defense is used quite rare, but many of such court hearings are of high profile and draw public’s attention.
After a verdict in Hinckley case in 1982, when a person was recognized as not guilty by reason of insanity, the public concern was huge. Many reforms have been done in the next several years after the Hinckley verdict. Shortly after the trial, the legislation has changed the previous approach by requiring a “severe” mental disease. Since then some of U.S. states have banned the use of insanity defense. Among them are Montana, Idaho and Utah. —————————————————————————–
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