Are You Insane?

Topics: Insanity defense, Mental disorder, Insanity Pages: 3 (1128 words) Published: April 28, 2013
Are You Insane? by Cassidy Meade
“The statistics on sanity are that one out of every four people is suffering from a mental illness. Look at your 3 best friends. If they're ok, then it's you” said Rita Mae Brown. The definition for ‘insanity’ is the state of being seriously mentally ill. There are most likely multiple different definitions, but this was the most broad. Insanity can, in a way, have benefits. For example, a person accused of a crime can admit that they committed the crime, but may claim that they are not accountable for the crime due to the fact they have a mental illness by pleading "not guilty by reason of insanity."

The insanity defense mirrors a negotiation on the part of society and the law. Society believes that criminals should be punished for their crimes but society also believes that people who are ill should receive treatment for their illness. This is where the insanity defense comes in play. Essentially, it reflects the beliefs of society that the law should not penalize defendants who are incapable due to mental dysfunction and cannot control their conduct. In the 18th century, the authorized principles for the insanity defense were different. A lot of courts looked to see whether the defendant could make a distinction between moral and immoral, or good and evil. There were some courts that used that the defendant "did not know what he was doing." By the 19th century, it was normally acknowledged that insanity was a question of circumstance, and was left for the jury to choose.

The insanity plea, also identified as the insanity defense, is a type of criminal defense employed by defendants, in order to weaken the offense that they have either committed or being accused of. In most cases, the defendant pleads guilty, but not at fault due to a mental disability. When a defendant brings the insanity plea into a case, they are claiming that the crime that they have been accused of was not done on purpose but rather they cannot be...
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