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NCJ Number: 136445 Find in a Library
Title: Automatism, Insanity, and the Psychology of Criminal Responsibility: A Philosophical Inquiry
Author(s): R F Schopp
Date Published: 1991
Page Count: 288
Sponsoring Agency: Cambridge University Press
Cambridge, CB2 IRP, England
Publication Number: ISBN 0-521-40150-X
Sale Source: Cambridge University Press
The Pitt Building
Trumpington Street
Cambridge, CB2 IRP,
United Kingdom
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: Criminal responsibility is examined with respect to the role of psychological disorders or impairment with emphasis on the automatism and insanity defenses.
Abstract: In the Anglo-American legal tradition, criminal guilt requires both that the defendant committed some forbidden action and that the defendant did it with intent, knowledge, or recklessness. The second requirement corresponds to the intuitive idea that people should not be punished for something that they did not do on purpose or if they did not realize what they were doing. However, this idea can be highly controversial in practice. The issues involved are examined in terms of their conceptual and moral foundations, including the Model Penal Code of the American Law Institute. In addition, the automatism and insanity defenses are considered with respect to the types of functional impairments experienced by typical defendants who use these defenses. The analysis concludes that the current approaches to these defenses are inadequate, in part because of the poorly articulated voluntary act and culpability requirements. A conceptual framework is proposed, based on philosophical action theory, to clarify the role of psychological processes in the structure-of-offense elements and to explain the nature of the voluntary act and culpability requirements and the relationship between the two. Footnotes and index
Main Term(s): Criminal responsibility
Index Term(s): Criminal intent; Diminished capacity defense; Guilty but mentally ill; Insanity defense; Mentally ill offenders
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