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NCJ Number: 147987 Find in a Library
Journal: Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology  Volume:83  Issue:4  Dated:(Winter 1993)  Pages:944-977
Author(s): E M Papadakis
Date Published: 1993
Page Count: 34
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This Note considers a Supreme Court decision regarding the confinement of an insanity acquittee once he has regained his sanity.
Abstract: In Foucha v. Louisiana, the United States Supreme Court held that a state may not confine an insanity acquittee indefinitely in a mental institution once he has regained his sanity, solely on the basis of his continuing dangerousness. The Court's opinion, however, seemed to suggest two contradictory bases for its decision. First, relying on Jones v. United States, the Court appeared to hold that Foucha was entitled to release once he had regained his sanity and any further confinement would be unconstitutional. Later in the opinion and explicitly in the concurrence, however, the Court's reasoning attacked the statute's broadness, implying that a more narrowly tailored scheme for detention of sane-but-dangerous insanity acquittees would be acceptable. This Note reconciles the opinions of the majority and the concurrence by considering a reading of Jones that is consistent with both opinions, permitting the continued confinement of acquittees who have regained their sanity. This Note argues, however, that neither the language of Jones nor prior case law warrants such a reading. This Note also challenges the Court's holding on equal protection grounds and suggests that the heightened standard of scrutiny created by Justice O'Connor in her concurrence will have little impact on the release of insanity acquittees. Footnotes
Main Term(s): Courts
Index Term(s): Criminal law; Criminology; Mentally ill inmates; US Supreme Court decisions
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