INSANITY DEFENSE

Some accused or guilty persons who are being tried for murder or other type of heinous crime often use the insanity defense which is also known as the NGRI plea means “Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity” so they can get least amount of punishment or can easily escape with it. Defendants claim that they were not legally responsible for their criminal acts because they were not in the right state of mind at the time of crime.

In legal terms, they apply the ancient doctrine that their acts, while the accused (actus rea) lacked moral faultlessness, were not intentional that the defendants did not possess their full mental faculties at the time of the crime and “did not know what they were doing” (mens rea) under the assumption of lying that “insanity” somehow prevents or absent torture of guilty intent.

The M’Naghten Rule (1843)

According to this rule, often referred to as the “knowing right from wrong” rule, people are considered prudent until it is proved that at the time of act, they are thus Were laboring under the guise (of a sickness) that they did not know the nature and quality of the work they were doing or, if they knew that they were carrying out the work, they would not have known What he was doing was wrong.

The Durham Rule (1954)

In 1954, Judge David Bazelon, in a decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals, broadened the insanity defense further. Bazelon did not believe that the previous precedents allowed for a sufficient application of established scientific knowledge of mental illness and proposed a test that would be based on this knowledge. Under this rule, which is often referred to as the product test, the accused is not criminally responsible if his or her unlawful act was the product of mental disease or mental defect.

The Irresistible Impulse Rule (1887)

A second precedent in the insanity defense is the doctrine of the “irresistible impulse”. This view holds that accused persons might not be responsible for their acts, even if they knew that what they were doing was wrong (according to the M’Naghten Rule), if they had lost the power to choose between right and wrong. That is, they could not avoid doing the act in question because they were compelled beyond their will to commit the act ( Fersch, 1980).

The American Law Institute (ALI) Standard(1962)

Often referred to as the “substantial capacity test” for insanity, this test combines the cognitive aspect of M’Naghten with the volitional focus of irresistible impulse in holding that the perpetrator is not legally responsible if at the time of the act he or she, owing to mental disease or defect, lacked “substantial capacity” either to appreciate its criminal character or to conform his or her behavior to the law’s requirements.

The Federal Insanity Defense Reform Act (IDRA) (1984)

Adopted by Congress in 1984 as the standard for the insanity defense to be applied in all federal jurisdictions, this act abolished the volitional element of the ALI standard and modified the cognitive one to read “unable to appreciate, “ thus bringing the definition quite close to M’Naghten.

IDRA also specified that the mental disorder involved must be a severe one and shifted the burden of proof from the prosecution to the defense. That is, the defense must clearly and convincingly establish the defendant’s insanity, in contrast to the prior requirement that the prosecution clearly and convincingly demonstrate the defendant to have been sane when the prohibited act was committed.