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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 97717 Find in a Library
Title: Insanity Defense - Recommendations for Reform
Journal: Detroit College of Law Review  Volume:1983  Issue:4  Dated:(Winter 1983)  Pages:1525-1532
Author(s): E Zorinsky
Date Published: 1983
Page Count: 8
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A Senator from Nebraska traces the history of the insanity defense and then describes his proposed legislation to establish more stringent requirements for claiming and proving mental incapacity.
Abstract: The decision in Durham v. United States in 1954 was the first significant development in the insanity defense since the M'Naughten Rule of 1843. Durham broadened the definition of insanity to include temporary insanity and irresistible impulse. The Hinkley trial has produced a flood of new legislation. A bill proposed by the Senator would change the insanity defense in three areas: (1) add a plea of guilty but insane to the two pleadings already available, namely guilty and non guilty, and eliminate the verdict not guilty by reason of insanity; (2) eliminate the American Law Institute standard of insanity as used by Judge Kaufman in the United States v. Freeman, instead putting into the Federal statutes a legal definition of insanity and removing reliance on caselaw guidelines, and (3) continue jurisdiction and supervision by the trial court for the treatment and release of a person found guilty but insane. The legislation finally passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee is a good faith effort at a fair compromise, although it does not contain all provisions of the original bill. The paper discusses reactions to the proposed legislation and weaknesses in current Federal procedures for supervising individuals found guilty but insane. Eight footnotes are included.
Index Term(s): Guilty but mentally ill; Insanity defense; Law reform; Legislation
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