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: 99454 Find in a Library
Title: Breaking the Stone Tablet - Criminal Law Without the Insanity Defense
Journal: Idaho Law Review  Volume:19  Issue:2  Dated:(Spring 1983)  Pages:239-257
Author(s): L E Thomas
Date Published: 1983
Page Count: 19
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article examines the implications of Idaho's 1982 enactment which abolished the insanity defense by providing that 'mental condition shall not be a defense to any charge of criminal conduct'.
Abstract: A critical review of the insanity defense focuses on the M'Naghten rule, the American Law Institute test for insanity, selected Idaho cases, and United States v. Brawner. It concludes that the insanity defense did not produce accurate and reliable results or significant benefits for either society or criminal defendants. Idaho's abolition of the insanity defense shifts the principal emphasis on mental condition from the trial stage to the disposition stage of the criminal proceeding. In sentencing, mentally disordered offenders are to be committed to an appropriate official for placement in an appropriate facility, and the time in treatment is to count against a definite sentence. The act provides a nonexclusive list of criteria to guide the court at sentencing and makes several procedural changes. Under the new law, evidence of mental impairment is no more complicated than any other evidentiary question relating to the ability of the accused to form the necessary intent to commit the crime. The jury will simply be instructed on the elements of the crime, including the element of intent, and responsibility for dealing with the effects of the offender's mental illness falls on the sentencing judge. A review of U.S. Supreme Court decisions suggests that there is no constitutional impediment to abolition of the insanity defense. The article provides 90 footnotes.
Index Term(s): Criminal intent; Idaho; Insanity defense; Mentally ill offenders; Sentencing/Sanctions
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.