Today in our legal system, there are numerous amounts of defense tactics that are designed to protect the rights of the accused, and to further the process of justice. However, in many cases this augmentation of justice has been taken too far, and as a result, pleas such as “Temporary insanity” are born. Indeed, the insanity defense in itself has been stretched nearly to its breaking point. In this analytical examination of the insanity plea, I will illustrate how, in some cases the insanity plea is necessary while in other cases, the use of the insanity plea is illegitimate.
The history of the insanity defense goes back as far as government. As Thomas Maeder stated in his book Crime and Madness: The Origins and Evolutions of the Insanity Defense, surprisingly enough, “Throughout most of history there have been no specific criteria for exculpatory insanity”(3). In ancient Hebrew times, as Maeder notes, the law simply states that idiots, lunatics, and children below a given age are not to be held criminally responsible (3).
In fact, in Ancient Greek and Roman cultures, nothing has survived to reveal any
Cited: Godine, Boston, 1984 Lehmann-Haupt, Christopher Harper and Row, Publishers, New York, 1985 Witkin, Gordon