skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 97135 Find in a Library
Title: Reconsideration of the Insanity Defense and Related Issues in the Aftermath of the Hinckley Trial
Journal: Psychiatric Quarterly  Volume:54  Issue:4  Dated:(Winter 1982)  Pages:260-264
Author(s): A L Halpern
Date Published: 1982
Page Count: 5
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The insanity defense undermines public respect for the courts and the law; its elimination should be accompanied by the legislative stipulation of varying degrees of culpable mental states, so that allowance can be made for a defendant's mental disability when it is asserted in a given case.
Abstract: Since 1964, a number of events and trends have created a climate that suggests the value of abolishing the insanity defense. With the abolition of capital punishment in New York and other States, the use of the insanity defense is an anachronism, and U.S. Supreme Court decisions suggest that abolition of the insanity defense would not be held unconstitutional. Further, a number of judges, including Chief Justice Warren Burger, have argued for the elimination of the insanity defense. Also, the use of the insanity defense has risen dramatically; and with the increased publicity in the more egregious cases over the past few years, insanity trials have confused the public. The elimination of the insanity defense will contribute to rational practices in America's criminal justice system. However, as long as it is retained, the burden of proof should be placed on the defendant. Further, legislation should be enacted so that charges are not dropped against offenders who are considered dangerous just because they are not likely in the foreseeable future to be competent to stand trial. Finally, a standard for the determination of competency should be adopted. Seventeen references are included.
Index Term(s): Competency to stand trial; Criminally insane persons; Insanity defense; Law reform
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.