Insanity Defense Essay
Topics: Insanity defense, Mental disorder / Pages: 6 (1410 words) / Published: Jan 26th, 2017

Assessment of the Necessity and Validity of the Insanity Defense
Kirk Saunders
Gallia Academy High School
Honors Language Arts (English IV)

Assessment of the Necessity and Validity of the Insanity Defense Despite public notions about the use of the insanity defense in criminal trials by defendants as a method of reducing their punishments, the reality is that the defense is rarely invoked, difficult to feign, and when proven, often leads to longer incarcerations than if the defendant was criminally convicted. Due to the fair nature of the insanity plea, it remains a valid form of defense for mentally handicapped people charged with crimes. Not only is it a valid form of defense, but it is a necessary one. It was set in place
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A defendant is considered insane if he/she was unable to see the wrong-doing of his/her actions or was not able to understand what exactly he/she was doing at the time of the crime due to mental disease or defect. The Model Penal Code rule was based on the M’Naghten rule and therefore shares many similarities. The only main difference between the two is that the Model Penal Code rule uses a more broad definition of “insane.” Most importantly, both of these rules require the defendant to prove they were not in a right state of mind at the time of the crime, which helps to prevent criminals who willingly and knowingly committed crimes from using the insanity defense, yet still allows people who have mental diseases or defects to properly use the defense (Crime and Punishment: Essential Primary Sources, 2006, p. 30). To properly prove to the court that a defendant is indeed classified as insane under the law, the defense must seek the evaluation of a psychiatric expert. According to Dr. Robert Wettstein (2014), a practicing psychiatrist, “The evaluator must analyze the defendant's thoughts, feelings, and behavior carefully to determine whether the specific cognitive or volitional criteria for the applicable insanity defense are satisfied“ (p. 1732). Before the M’Naghten rule was adopted, it was the responsibility of the prosecutor to prove that the defendant was sane, which allowed some criminals to successfully feign insanity. Using the insanity defense is much harder today; the defense is invoked in less than 1% of criminal cases and only around one quarter of these pleas are successful (Crime and Punishment: Essential Primary Sources, 2006, p. 30). With the help of well-established rules, the insanity defense is practically impossible to

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