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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 94540 Find in a Library
Title: Statement of Stephen J Morse Before the House Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, April 21, 1983 (From Reform of the Federal Defense, P 311-358, 1983 - See NCJ-94538)
Author(s): S J Morse
Corporate Author: Assoc for the Advancement of Psychology
United States of America
Date Published: 1983
Page Count: 48
Sponsoring Agency: Assoc for the Advancement of Psychology

Superintendent of Documents
Washington, DC 20402
Sale Source: Superintendent of Documents
Congressional Sales Office GPO
Washington, DC 20402
United States of America
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This statement by Stephen Morse, professor of law and professor of psychiatry and the behavioral sciences at the University of Southern California Law Center and School of Medicine, supports H.R. 1280, a Federal bill to retain the insanity defense but with some modifications in Federal jurisdictions.
Abstract: Although Dr. Morse appeared before the House Subcommittee on Criminal Justice on behalf of the Association for the Advancement of Psychology and the American Psychological Association, the opinions expressed are his own. Morse supports the bill's retention of the insanity defense rather than the adoption of the 'mens rea' approach and the guilty-but-mentally-ill verdict. Other provisions supported are the deletion of the volitional test from the insanity defense, the assignment of the burden of proof of insanity on the defense according to a preponderance of the evidence, and a limitation on the length of commitment periods for incompetency to stand trial. Morse also favors the bill's prohibition against experts offering legal conclusions on insanity and from using diagnoses at insanity defense trials. Other supported provisions are the right of defendants to refuse treatment in the context of committals after insanity acquittals and the requirement of detailed reports from mental health examiners in both incompetency and post/insanity acquittal proceedings. The statement suggests modifications in the insanity defense test and in the incompetency and post/insanity acquittal procedures. The appendix discusses the relevance of mental health diagnoses in criminal cases.
Main Term(s): Insanity defense
Index Term(s): Burden of proof; Competency to stand trial; Psychiatric testimony
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