Insanity Defense Essay

INTRODUCTION

The insanity defense refers to that branch of the concept of

insanity which defines the extent to which men accused of crimes may

be relieved of criminal responsibility by virtue of mental disease.

The terms of such a defense are to be found in the instructions

presented by the trial judge to the jury at the close of a case. These

instructions can be drawn from any of several rules used in the

determination of mental illness. The final determination of mental

illness rests solely on the jury who uses information drawn from the

testimony of "expert" witnesses, usually professionals in the field of

psychology. The net result of such a determination places an

individual accordingly, be it placement in a mental facility,

incarceration, or outright release. Due to these aforementioned

factors, there are several problems raised by the existence of the

insanity defense. Problems such as the actual possibility of

determining mental illness, justifiable placement of judged "mentally

ill" offenders, and the overall usefulness of such a defense. In all,

I believe that these problems, as well as others which will be

mentioned later, lead us to the conclusion that the insanity defense

is useless and should be abolished entirely. Insanity is a legal, not

a medical definition. Therefore, mental illness and insanity are not

synonymous: only some mental illness constitutes insanity. Insanity,

however, includes not only mental illness but also mental

deficiencies. Due to this, there are problems in exactly how to apply

a medical theory to a legal matter (Herman, 1983;128). The legal

concepts of mental illness and insanity raise questions in a conflict

between what are termed legalistic criminology and scientific

criminology: mens rea, punishment v. treatment, responsibility, and

prisons v. hospitals. This debate seesaws to and fro amidst a grey

area between law and science. The major difficulty with a theory such

as mental illness is that it is just that, a theory. To scientists

theories are a way of life, but applied to the concept of law theories

become somewhat dangerous. By applying a loose theory such as mental

illness to law we are in essence throwing the proverbial "monkey

wrench" into the wheels of justice.

TESTING FOR INSANITY

At the center of the legal use of insanity lies the mens rea.

Every crime involves a physical act, or actus reus, and a mental act,

or mens rea, the non-physical cause of behavior. The mens rea is the

mental element required for a crime, and if absent excuses the

defendant from criminal responsibility and punishment (Jeffery,

1985;49). The difficulty here lies in analyzing the mens rea. In order

to do this lawyers apply one of several rules used by psychologists.

These rules range from the Irresistible Impulse Test to the M'Naghten

Rule. Each of these rules approach mental illness/capacity in a

different way and in my opinion each falls short of actual proof. I

will discuss each in detail. The M'Naghten Rule The M'Naghten Rule,

also known as the right-wrong test, arose in 1843 during the trial of

Daniel M'Naghten who argued that he was not criminally responsible for

his actions because he suffered from delusions at the time of the

killing. The M'Naghten Rule reads: A defendant may be excused from

criminal responsibility if at the time of the commission of the act

the party accused was laboring under such a defect of reason, from a

disease of the mind, as not to know the nature and the quality of the

act he was doing, or if he did know it, that he did not know that he

was doing what was wrong. Thus, according to the rule, a person is

basically insane if he or she is unable to distinguish between right

and wrong as a result of some mental disability. Criticism of the

M'Naghten Rule has come from both legal and medical professions. Many

criticize that the test is unsound in its view of human psychology.

Psychiatry, it is argued, views the human personality as an integrated

entity, not divisible into separate compartments of reason, emotion,

or volition (Herman, 1983;138). Additionally, the test is criticized

for defining responsibility solely in terms of cognition. While

cognitive symptoms may reveal disorder, they alone are not sufficient

to give an adequate picture of such a disorder or determine

responsibility. Also, it has been shown that individuals deemed insane

by psychologists have possessed the ability to differentiate right

from wrong. I believe that the major weakness of this test, however,

lies in the fact that courts are unable to make clear determinations

of terms such as disease of the mind, know, and the nature and quality

of the act. The Irresistible Impulse Test This rule excludes from

criminal responsibility a person whose mental disease makes it

impossible to control personal conduct. Unlike the M'Naghten Rule, the

criminal may be able to distinguish between right and wrong, but may

be unable to exercise self-control because of a disabling mental

condition. Normally this test is combined with the M'Naghten Rule.

Many of the criticisms of the Irresistible Impulse Test center around

the claim that the view of volition is so extremely narrow that it can

be misleading. Just as the M'Naghten Rule focused on cognition rather

than the function of the person in an integrated fashion, the

Irresistible Impulse Test abstracts the element of volition in a way

that fails to assess a person's function in terms of an integrated

personality. Additionally, it has been asserted that the concept at

best has medical significance in only minor crimes resulting from

obsession-compulsion, and that seldom, if ever, can it be shown that

this disorder results in the commission of a major crime (Seigel

1993;144). Such a claim is subject to the objection that it cannot be

conclusively proven. Interestingly, it has been shown by many

psychiatric authorities that no homicidal or suicidal crime ever

results from obsession-compulsion neurosis. Another criticism of this

test is the difficulty, if not the impossibility, of proving the

irresistibility of the impulse, which the definition of the test

requires. The jury, as I said earlier, has the final decision, and is

faced with deciding when the impulse was irresistible and when it was

merely unresisted, a task that psychiatrists suggest is impossible to

perform. We are also able to argue that the test is one of volition.

It is too narrow in that it fails to recognize mental illness

characterized by brooding and reflection (Herman 1983;140). The test

is misleading in its suggestion that where a crime is committed as a

result of emotional disorder due to insanity, it must be sudden and

impulsive. The Durham Rule The Durham Rule, also known as the Products

Test, is based on the contention that insanity represents many

personality factors, all of which may not be present in every case. It

was brought about by Judge David Bazelon in the case of Durham v. U.S.

who rejected the M'Naghten Rule and stated that the accused is not

criminally responsible if the unlawful act was the product of mental

disease or defect. The primary problem with this rule of course lies

in its meaning. Again it is impossible for us to define mental disease

or defect, and product does not give the jury a reliable standard by

which to base a decision. It is unnecessary to offer further

criticism, for my purpose I believe this attempt fails at it's onset.

The Substantial Capacity Test Another test is termed the Substantial

Capacity Test which focuses on the reason and will of the accused. It

states that at the time of the crime, as a result of some mental

disease or defect, the accused lacked the substantial capacity to (a)

appreciate the wrongfulness of their conduct or (b) conform their

conduct to the requirements of the law. This test is disputable in the

fact that it is not only impossible to prove capacity of reason or

will, but to even test such abstracts seems absurd. Additionally, the

term "substantial capacity" lies question in that it is an abstract

impossible to define.

INSANITY: HOW IT IS ESTABLISHED

The meaning of insanity is the legal definition as put forth

in a rule such as the M'naghten Rule or whatever school of thought is

in use on any given day. The legal test is applied in an adversary

system which pitches lawyer against psychiatrist and psychiatrist

against psychiatrist. Because of this, the psychiatrist is often

perceived not as a scientist but a partisan for the side which is

paying for his testimony (Jeffery, 1985;56). The major problem in this

case being that the use of a neutral expert is impossible to

implement. In the end the determination of insanity is a layman's

decision since it is the jury which ultimately decides whether the

defendant is sane or insane. This of course is ludicrous since

professional scientists cannot agree on the meaning of mental illness.

How can a layman make such a decision especially after listening to

contradictory testimony which is manipulated by opposing lawyers. I

believe that the major problem that we can point out here is in the

futility of asking psychiatrists to testify in terms of legal concepts

of insanity. The psychiatrist finds himself in a double bind: he has

no medical definition of mental illness and he must answer questions

from lawyers concerning legal insanity, right and wrong, and

irresistible impulses. As stated by Packer: "The insanity defense

cannot tolerate psychiatric testimony since the ethical foundations of

the criminal law are rooted in beliefs about human rationality,

deterribility, and free will. These are articles of moral faith rather

than scientific fact."

MENTAL ILLNESS AND CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR

In the insanity defense we have no variable independent of the

criminal behavior we are studying. Insanity refers to a class of

behaviors known by observing the behavior of the patient, and

criminality is a class of behavior likewise known by observing the

behavior of the defendant. We are involved in classification and

labels. Where we have one class of behaviors labeled as schizophrenia,

and the other class labeled as crimes, what we have are two

co-existing classes of behavior in the same individual, and not a

cause or effect relationship (Simon, 1988;47). A person can be

Catholic and commit a robbery without a casual relationship existing;

likewise, a person can be schizophrenic and a robber without a casual

relationship existing between the two classes of behavior. Coexistence

does not show a casual relationship. Behavior cannot cause behavior.

What we must do, in order to prove a relationship between mental

illness and criminal behavior is produce some independent link between

the two classes of behavior on a biochemical level. We must have a

definition of mental illness independent of the behavioral symptoms in

order to establish a casual relationship between crime and mental

illness. There is such a view and it is termed the Biological

Psychiatric view. The view basically states that there is some defect

or malfunction in the actual make-up of the brain of an individual

which causes schizophrenia. This same defect then causes the criminal

behavior such as robbery or murder. The problem here is that we have

no actual way of mapping the brain and conclusively determining

exactly what portion thereof is responsible for either type of

behavior much less that one area is responsible for both. In essence

even if true this theory is unprovable. There is also a statistical

relationship between crime and mental illness. Guttmacker and Weihofen

found 1.5 percent of the criminal population psychotic, 2.4 percent

mentally defective, 6.9 percent neurotic, and 11.2 percent

psychopathic (Jeffery, 1985:66). These figures are very unconvincing.

Additionally they are based on old diagnostic categories and

procedures which are most unreliable. Also, the meaning of neurotic or

psychotic or psychopathic is uncertain within the context of these

studies and they do not refer to modern biological categories of brain

disease. Terms such as insanity, mental illness, and mens rea have no

scientific meaning, therefore we must leave as unspecified and

uncertain the relationships between insanity, mental illness and

criminal law. We certainly cannot conclude that mental illness bears

any relationship to diseases of the brain, nor can we conclude that

mental illness or insanity causes criminal behavior.

THE MYTH OF MENTAL ILLNESS

Not only is there no agreement as to the meaning of insanity

and mental illness, but to add further confusion, there is a school of

thought that states that mental illness is a myth and does not exist.

This approach is found in the works of such persons as Thomas Szasz

(1961;1963) who argues that mental illness is a myth and label applied

to behavior by psychiatrists who are making political and ethical

decisions, and Laing (1969;1971) who claims that labels are being used

by society to impose violence and control on people. View such as

these and others deny the physical and biological basis of behavioral

disorders. They separate completely biology and behavior, brain and

behavior, and mental and physical. The fact that we refer to "mental"

disease has been cited as evidence that we do not regard it as disease

but as something outside the realm of biological science. Szasz

states, for example, that the psychiatrist confuses physical disease

and neurological disorders with mental diseases. A study in evidence

of this was done by Rosenhan (Ziskin, 1975:54) known as "Being Sane in

Insane Places." Rosenhan, a psychologist, placed eight normal people

in mental hospitals as "pseudo-patients." They were diagnosed as

schizophrenic, and later on when they appeared normal, rediagnosed as

schizophrenia in remission. After one experiment one hospital

challenged Rosenhan to send them "pseudo-patients" during the next

several months. At the end of the period the hospital announced that

they had discovered that 12 percent of their admission were

"pseudo-patients" from Rosenhan went in fact none had ever been sent.

USEFULNESS OF THE INSANITY DEFENSE

As we have already seen, there is much confusion dealing with

the placement of insanity and mental illness, it's definition, and

even it's very existence. We have likewise seen the use of several of

the various testing techniques used to determine mental illness and

their shortcomings. This information alone would lead us to believe

that the insanity defense needs at least to be revised and improved in

many areas. What we have looked at thus far is what precedes the

actual judgment of sanity. What we have not looked at, however, is

that implementation of the actual judgment of sanity. That is to say,

the actual results of the defense when successful. I believe that it

is here that we will see the most heinous travesties of justice. There

are several decisions which can be reached when insanity is at last

proven. These judgements include not guilty by reason of insanity

(NGI), and guilty but mentally ill (GMI), with the later verdict not

being implemented until the early eighties in an attempt to reform the

insanity defense and decrease the amount of NGI verdicts. The NGI

verdict is the more dangerous verdict and the one which I believe has

the strongest argument against the insanity defense. The objection

here is that it allows dangerous men to return to the streets where

they commit heinous crimes. Of the 300 persons committed on NGI

verdicts 80 percent were released from mental hospitals by

psychiatrists, and in several instances these mental patients went on

to kill again (Jeffery, 1985;73). My belief is that psychiatrists and

mental hospitals do not cure the mentally ill. This is the reality of

the insanity defense which I find irrefutable; in many cases criminals

are released due to loopholes such as the insanity defense to simply

commit the same crime again. Even is these cases make up 10 out of

100,000, there now exist 10 crimes that need not have happened. The

guilty but mentally ill approach has three serious flaws. First it

strikes indirectly at the mens rea requirement, introducing the

slippery notion that the accused had partial, but not complete,

criminal intent. Second, it creates a lesser and included offense that

judges and juries may choose as simply a compromise verdict. They

believe the accused probably did something wrong and deserves some

punishment, but they are unwilling to bring in a verdict of guilty on

the top charge. The GMI verdict would allow them to split the

difference. Finally the GMI verdict is fraudulent on the issue of

treatment. As proposed, it makes no provision for treatment of the

person who has been declared mentally ill. The GBI option has already

proved to be a bogus reform. A 1981 Illinois law added the GMI as an

additional verdict, retaining the traditional insanity defense. In

Cook County, verdicts of not guilty by reason of insanity actually

increased from 34 to 103 between 1981 and 1984. At the same time GMI

went from 16 in 1982, the first year the option was available, to 87

in 1984. There has been much evidence of a "hydraulic" effect that was

contrary to the law's intent. In both Illinois and Michigan, GMI

verdicts involved people who would otherwise have been found guilty,

not defendents who would have been found not guilty by reason of

insanity (Walker, 1994;155-156). The real function of the GBI option

is to appease public opinion. The public has little concern for the

details of what actually happens to a mentally ill criminal defendent.

Basically, it wants a symbolic statement of "guilty." In practice, the

GMI verdict has as much meaning as "guilty but brown eyes." How

dangerous is the GMI verdict? As we say with the NGI verdict, many

extremely dangerous mentally ill criminals were simply released onto

the streets where they committed the same crimes. Does the GMI verdict

solve this problem? We have some "natural experiments" on this questio

rising from some court decisions. A 1971 decision forced to

reassessment of 586 inmates of Pennsylvania's Fairview State Hospital

for the Criminaly Insane who were placed there under the GMI verdict.

Over two-thirds were eventually released. Over the next four years, 27

percent were rearrested. Eleven percent were rearrested for violent

crime. Including some others who were rehospitalized for a violent

act, a total of 14.5 percent of those released proved to be dangerous.

ABOLISH THE INSANITY DEFENSE

Abolishing the insanity defense is easier said than done for

the simple reason that the mens rea requirement remains a fundamental

legal principle. The proposal that "mental condition shall not be a

defense to any charge of criminal conduct" could be interpreted in one

of two ways. The broader interpretation would mean that absolutly no

aspect of mental condition could be taken into account. In effect,

this interpretation would abolish the mens rea requirement altogether.

The prosecution would not have to prove anything about the accused's

mental state. This is unneccessarry. For one thing, it would wipe out

the distintions that separarte first-degree murder, second-degree

murder, and manslaughter. It is doubtful that anyone againt the

insanity defense would choose to take this approach. So sweeping, in

fact, would be it's effect, that it would probably be declared

unconstitutuional. A more limited reading of the wording "mental

condition shall not be a defense to any charge of criminal conduct"

would mean that an affermative plea of "not guilty by reason of

insanity" could not be raised. The crucial distinction here is drawn

between affermative and ordinary defenses. An ordinary defense is

simply an attempt to shown that the prosecution has failed to connect

the accused with the crime, a defense used in everyday law. An

affermative defense is raised when the prosecution has connected the

accused with the crime, as in an example of self-defense. The defense

argues that, yes, the accused did shoot and kill the person and did so

intentionally, but because the act was commited in self-defense the

accused does not bear criminal responsibilty for it. The same is true

in the case of a criminal act commited under duress. The insanity

defense, in this respect, is an affermative defense. It is this usage

that needs to be abolished. In cases such as self defense it may be an

adequate and totally acceptable defense, for in how many cases do you

hear of a man being aquitted due to a self-defense plea returning to

the streets in order to kill again? To draw a comparison between the

two and argue that both defenses are neccessarry to the total order is

naive and unfounded.

CONCLUSION

The law of insanity involves the conceptes of mens rea and

punishments, as does the criminal law in general. Insanity is a legal

concept, not a medical concept, and insanity is defined within the

context of an adversary system wherin psychiatrists and lawyers battle

one another over the meaning of terms such as "right and wrong" and

"ability to control one's behavior." Mental illness and mental disease

are psychoanalytic concepts, not scientific concepts. Mental illness

is defined by talking to people or by giving them written tests, and

there is no agreement among psychiatrists as to the meaning of this

illness or whether or not it really exists. Some psychiatrists call

mental illness a myth. The psychoanalyst has not been successful in

treating or predicting mental illness. The psychoanalyst has never

established a casual relationship between mental illness and criminal

behavior. The insanity defense would require both a mental illness and

a relationship between the illness and the criminal behavior, neither

of which could be scientificly established. Of the criminals both

aquited and convicted using the insanity defense, a good number have

shown conclusive evidence of recidivism. Many dangerous persons are

allowed to return to the streets and many non-dangerous persons are

forced into facilities due to an insanity plea adding further

confusion and injustice within both the legal and medical systems. In

my opinion the iunsanity defense is impossible to maintain on the

basis of rules such as the M'Naghten Rule, and the relationship

between law and psychiatry must be reestablished on a more scientific

level, based on the neurological work now going on in the brain

sciences. The insanity defense is impracticle in it's present usage

and should therefore be abolished.

Imagine for a moment, someone has just inexplicably murdered a mother or child. Imagine the rage, tearing you apart, physically making you shake or be ill. At the same time this rage is entangled and somewhat smothered by the crushing grief welling up inside of you. A thought flashes into your head, “I will kill the person responsible for this!” but our sanity stops that action. A persons insanity allows you to know that to actually carry out a murder is illogical, immoral, and illegal. You know that your actions will land you a spot in hell next to all the other Murders. That thought process is exactly what separates you from a killer. Although with the right lawyer, the person who committed this tragic crime may someday be able to be free. This murderer may be able to push such anguish onto another family because they were let free on grounds of temporary insanity. The insanity defense should be wiped out nationwide unless certain tests of mental insanity are met and a patient has a history of a mental illness. The insanity defense is a criminal defense that is used when the defendant’s case states that the crime occurred because the defendant had a severe mental disease or defect and was unable to apprehend the wrongfulness of his or her acts.

When someone claims insanity, they are not held responsible for their criminal actions. There are two pieces of evidence the first being the accused was unable to tell right from wrong and the second that the accused did not intend to act the way he or she did and/or could not control their behavior. The insanity defense should not be a valid excuse to free criminals. Insanity is a legal term, not a psychological one, and experts disagree whether it has valid psychological meaning. Critics of not guilty by reason of insanity have claimed that too many sane defendants use the insanity defense to escape justice; that the state of psychological knowledge encourages expensive “dueling expert” contests that juries are unlikely to understand; that, in practice, the defense unfairly excludes some defendants. Research on not guilty by reason of insanity fails to support most of these claims but some serious problems may exist with this.

The insanity defense goes back to 1843 when a man by the name of Daniel McNaughtan attempted to assassinate Edward Drummond, Secretary to the British Prime Minister Robert Peel. McNaughtan was under the impression that he was being prosecuted, so he reacted with murder. Daniel McNaughtan killed Robert Peel’s secretary. He was found not guilty by reason of insanity. Following his trial, he spent the next twenty years in a mental asylum until his death. Soon after this case, the English House of Lords set standards for the insanity defense which they called McNaugtan’s Rule: “Every man is to be presumed to be sane, and…that to establish a defense on the ground of insanity, it must be clearly proved that, at the time of the committing of the act, the party accused was laboring under such a defect of reason, from disease of mind, as not to know the nature and quality of the act he was doing; or if he did know it, that he did not know he was doing what was wrong.” (Encyclopedia Of Everyday Law) Soon after this rule became legal, the United States criminal justice system adopted this precedent. In 1981, after the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan by John Hinckley, the insanity defense received a lot of harsh publish criticism. John Hickley was found not guilty by reason of insanity.

Various people argued that Hinckley was guilty because the premeditation of the crime committed proved him to be sane, therefore the insanity defense should not have proved him not guilty. Hickley was found not guilty by reason of insanity and remains in psyciatic care. This allows the mentally ill defendant to be found liable of his or her crime, but requires them to seek psychiatric treatment or be placed in a mental hospital. When the defendants are well enough, they are moved to a prison to serve their sentences. Because of cases like this, the insanity defense still undergoes a lot of public criticism today. Although, during a more recent trial of Jeffrey Dahmer, who mutilated and consumed his young victims, the defendant tried to use the insanity defense, but the jurors found the criminal both sane and guilty.

This case showed that the insanity defense does not work for all criminals and supported the public’s criticism of the insanity defense. In another famous case, the Unabomber case, defendant Kaczynski refused to allow his attorney to present an insanity defense, and instead pled guilty and was sentenced to a life in prison. Had he let his attorney go through with the temporary insanity plea, there is a good chance that Kaczynski would be a free man today and could potentially kill again. The insanity defense does not eliminate the responsibility of a criminal act from the person committing the crime; instead, it is a defense mechanism for criminals who argue that at the time of the crime the defendant did not have willful intent due to a severe mental defect or disease. As stated before, numerous people are opposed to the insanity defense. They are against the insanity defense because they see it as a means where the defendant can avoid the consequences of his or her actions. People fear violent crimes and will be more apt to prosecute a criminal versus allowing the criminal another chance. The public, as they should be, is shocked when a criminal is successful in pleading insanity, is sent to a mental institution, and then is released once deemed “cured” by a team of physicians. The public does not see this as punishment, because it is not. A short stint in a mental institution is nothing compared to serving hard time. Some studies suggest that prison time is ineffectual, that may be but isolating violent criminals is a public safety matter. If left to their own devices, there is a very real possibility that they may strike again.

The temporary insanity plea is almost always used in cases of extreme mutilation, murder, and other horrific crimes, yet after undergoing a physiological evaluation some of the most vile people earth are allowed to walk free. Incomprehensibly, the very people who most deserve to be locked up for life are the ones who most often get off by claiming temporary insanity. Due to the violent nature of there crimes it is not a stretch to claim that they were insane. The vast majority of violent criminals are repeat offenders, and that affects every taxpayer in the United States, because it costs tens of thousands of dollars just to run a criminal through the justice system, not to mention the cost of providing care for them afterward. Once a person has proven they have the capacity to commit such an offence, they have proven that they are not fit to enjoy the freedoms that we as Americans are entitled. The insanity defense is an excuse for criminals to break the law and have no bearing on punishments. In most criminal cases the insanity plea is just a defense strategy aimed at delivering guilty defendants from serving time in prison or getting the death penalty. Most defendants that are found guilty by reason of insanity are released from the mental hospital years if not decades earlier than they would have been if they served their regular prison sentence. The insanity defense allows criminals to avoid the punishments they should be receiving for the crime they committed.

When someone is found not guilty by reason of insanity, jurisdictions require that the person spend at least some time in a psychiatric facility; if not automatically, many states require commitment to a psychiatric facility on grounds of mental illness, dangerousness, or both; most states do not have a limit on the amount of time that someone can be institutionalized insane. How long they spend in an institution also varies by state, but on average most stay three and a half years; in New Jersey 35% of the sample were still in institutions 8 years later; in Michigan it was 9 1/2 months; in Illinois it was 17 1/2 months, however, in this sample over 70% had been found incompetent prior to trial and had spent an average of 38.4 months in institutions. (Washington Post)= In the early 1990’s involving eight different states a study was conducted. They found that less than one percent of criminal defendants used the insanity defense. Only a quarter of these resulted in successful acquittals. Today a number of states have replaced the option of pleading “not guilty by reason of insanity” with pleading “guilty but mentally ill”. Currently, Idaho, Montana, and Utah banned insanity defenses, along with the supreme courts ruling. Along with this, between sixty and seventy percent of cases in which the insanity plea is invoked are for crimes other then murder. In actuality, it is used approximately 0.9% of the time. There are 51 different types of insanity defenses in the United States, one for each set of state laws, and one for federal law when dealing with someone pleading not guilty by reason of insanity. With astronomical operating costs of a psychiatric facility that increase the tax burden on every tax payer in the nation, especially the maximum security facilities that this caliber of criminal is housed at, the temporary insanity precedent set forth over a century ago should be phased out. Unfortunately, murder and violent crime has and will continue to happen as long as there are human beings living in close proximity, it is and ugly and regrettable reality of human society. There is no real solution to this horrible truth, but the closest and most logical option to preventing the deaths of more innocent people is for temporary insanity regulations to become much more strict. This will inevitably save lives, for if just one murderer has a second opportunity to kill another person that is one more person that is needlessly killed because the killer was given a second chance and not put in prison the first time they proved they have the capacity to take a life.

Works Cited
“Insanity Defense”. The Lectric Law Library’s Lexicon. 2 February, 2009. 12 February, 2009.http://www.lectlaw.com/def/d029.html

Martin, John P. “The Insanity Defense: A closer look””. Washington Post. 27 February, 1998. WP. 24 February, 2009. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpsrv/local/longterm/aron/qa227.html

“Other U.S. News: AMA Opposes Insanity Plea.” Facts On File World News Digest 23 Dec. 1983. World News Digest. Facts On File News Services. 23 Feb. 2009.

“Supreme Court: Arizona Insanity Defense Law Upheld.” Facts On File World News Digest 29 June 2006. World News Digest. Facts On File News Services. 23 Feb. 2009.

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