The Insanity Plea
What is the insanity plea?
The "M'Naghten Rule" - Defendant didn't understand what they did or couldn't distinguish right from wrong due to a "disease of the mind."
The "Irresistible Impulse" Test - Because of a mental disease, the defendant could not control his or her impulses leading to a criminal act.
The "Durham Rule" - Regardless of clinical diagnosis, the mental defect of the defendant caused them to commit a criminal act.
The "Model Penal Code" Test for Legal Insanity - Because of the mental defect, the defendant could not understand the criminality of his or her acts, or could not understand the confines of the law.
To qualify for the insanity plea, the defendant must be evaluated by at least one psychiatrist. I believe that at the very least, two psychologists should evaluate a criminal to determine where they are legally insane. These requirements are determined by the States. For a psychiatrist to deem one to be legally insane, the defendant would need to have behavior-controlling mental illnesses such as severe depression, mania, psychoses, or anxiety disorders such as PTSD. None of the listed mental illnesses are very easy to "fake" to a psychologist, which would be a counter-argument to those who believe that faking an illness is easy and to those who believe that the tests are too subjective. In my eyes it's pretty black and white, those who have behavior-altering mental conditions like the ones listed above are not fully in control of their actions. In a Huffington Post article titled "The Insanity of the Insanity Defense," the author calls the defense bologna, saying that the killer "knew exactly what he was doing..." when the author himself is not a psychiatrist and most likely not educated on the specific mental illnesses someone like the killer could've had. Regarding the sentence of those rare defendants who succeeded in their plea for insanity, I believe that no time should be removed. Even though they aren't in prison they are still removed from the public. In my opinion, those with behavior-altering mental illnesses cannot be held accountable for their actions.
John Hinckley Jr.
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Jaffee, Robert David. "The Insanity of the Insanity Defense." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, n.d. Web. 07 Apr. 2016.
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Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 07 Apr. 2016.