Free Course Work On Eliminating The Insanity Defense

Published: 2021-06-18 06:12:22
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Strict liability and the insanity defense share some very interesting and ironic components. Strict liability penalizes for “lack of thought or reason” while the insanity defense excuses this “lack of thought or reason.” The law operates quite strangely at times. In regards to the insanity defense, I firmly believe that it should be eliminated because it often excuses the criminal act and can be used as a loophole.

In a criminal case, the act and consequence should be the primary concerns, especially when considering violent crimes or crimes that harm individuals in other ways. However, when the insanity defense is invoked, individuals “cannot be held accountable because mental disease or disability deprives them of the ability to make a rational / voluntary choice” (http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/hinckley/hinckleyinsanity.htm). Although there are people who suffer from mental disease, the fact of the matter is that a crime has been committed, and those crimes demand consequences. There is plenty of validity supporting that those suffering from mental disease require different care, but that doesn’t excuse the act.

Furthermore, the insanity plea is consistently used not only for those who might require it, but as a way to reduce the sentencing. In most recent news, Oscar Pistorious used a variation of this plea in South African court, and one notable case in the U.S. was the murder case of Maurice Chenoweth in Big Bay, Michigan, and documented in Robert Traver’s book, Anatomy of a Murder (http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1989-08-20/travel/8901060128_1_john-d-voelker-robert-traver-lumberjack-tavern). The defendant pled not guilty to the crime due to insanity and won the case. A month later he was released from the state asylum.

These are not isolated cases. The insanity defense allows for too many loopholes in the swift prosecution of deserving criminals. There are certainly instances when the insanity plea is necessary for the health of the individual with mental disease, but does this excuse the act? Does it help the family of someone lost cope with that loss?

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