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NCJ Number: 65134 Find in a Library
Title: INSANITY - GUILTY BUT MENTALLY ILL - DIMINISHED CAPACITY - AN AGGREGATE APPROACH TO MADNESS
Journal: JOHN MARSHALL JOURNAL OF PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE  Volume:12  Dated:(WINTER 1979)  Pages:351-381
Author(s): J D AMARILIO
Corporate Author: John Marshall Law School
United States of America
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 31
Sponsoring Agency: John Marshall Law School
Chicago, IL 60604
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: INTERESTS OF MENTALLY ILL DEFENDANTS AND SOCIETY'S INTEREST IN INSTITUTIONALIZING OFFENDERS MIGHT BE BETTER BALANCED BY COMBINING MICHIGAN'S GUILTY BUT MENTALLY ILL PLEA WITH THE DIMINISHED CAPACITY DEFENSE.
Abstract: THE CONCEPT OF CRIMINAL RESPONSIBILITY REQUIRES THE CONCURRENCE OF THE PROSCRIBED ACT AND THE SPECIFIED ACCOMPANYING MENTAL STATE. THUS CRIMINAL RESPONSIBILITY, DOES NOT APPLY TO PERSONS INSANE DURING THE COMMISSION OF THE ACT AND THEREFORE INCAPABLE OF THE REQUIRED MENTAL STATE. THE LAW HAS CREATED FOUR TESTS OF INSANITY OVER THE LAST 135 YEARS, ALL OF WHICH ARE SEVERELY FLAWED FOR EFFECTIVE IMPLEMENTATION. THE INHERENT DEFECT IN ALL THE INSANITY TESTS IS THEIR ALL-OR-NOTHING APPROACH. THE TRIER OF FACT MUST DOGMATICALLY DETERMINE WHETHER THE DEFENDANT IS MAD OR BAD; WHETHER HE OR SHE SHOULD RECEIVE TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT. ON THE OTHER HAND, ABOLITION OF THE INSANITY TESTS IS AN UNCONSTITUTIONAL SOLUTION. WHILE THE GUILTY BUT MENTALLY ILL ALTERNATIVE DOES NOT SOLVE THE QUESTION OF WHO SHOULD BE HELD CRIMINALLY RESPONSIBLE, IT DOES MODIFY THE ABSOLUTIST APPROACH BY LEGALLY RECONGNIZING THAT THERE ARE DEGREES OF MADNESS. THE ABILITY TO ENTERTAIN THE REQUISITE MENTAL STATE IS THEREBY RECOGNIZED, BUT WITH THE UNDERSTANDING THAT IT IS THE PRODUCT OF A MENTALLY ILL MIND. THUS, THE APPROPRIATE DISPOSITION LOOKS TOWARD PSYCHIATRIC TREATMENT. NEVERTHELESS, THE ALL-OR-NOTHING APPROACH TO THE PRELIMINARY FINDING OF CRIMINAL RESPONSIBILITY REMAINS. THE DEFENDANT'S MENTAL STATE HAS NOT BEEN CORRELATED WITH CRIMINAL RESPONSIBILITY. HERE, THE DIMINISHED CAPACITY DEFENSE CAN BE USED, WHICH PERMITS A SHOWING OF LESS THAN TOTAL INCAPACITY FROM MENTAL ILLNESS. USED ALONE, THIS DEFENSE COUNTERACTS SOCIETY'S INTEREST IN REDUCING CRIME BY INCREASING THE NUMBER OF INSANITY ACQUITTALS. THROUGH THE PROPOSED COMBINATION OF APPROACHES, HOWEVER, THE DEFENDANT WILL BE HELD FULLY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CRIME MATCHING THE DEGREE OF MENTAL RESPONSIBILITY HE FOUND TO POSSESS, AND HE WILL UNDERGO TREATMENT INSTEAD OF NONPRODUCTIVE PUNISHMENT. (AUTHOR ABSTRACT MODIFIED- -MRK)
Index Term(s): Criminal responsibility; Insanity defense; Michigan
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=65134

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