The Insanity Plea Essay Research Paper In — страница 2

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The flexibility of the rule makes it possible to include different matters of insanity. Like every other rule, controversies erupted. The question was how flexible will the rule become until it finally snapped to pieces ? Many Americans dislike the insanity plea because of the fact that the killer will be freed to do new violence. They feel that criminals use the insanity plea to dodge the consequence of their actions. For example, many people were distraught when the verdict was announced in the Hinckley case. On Monday, March 30, 1981, he stood on a crowded sidewalk in Washington, D.C. Anticipating the departure of President Regan, Hinckley waited with his fingers on the gun. As President Regan emerged from a crowd, Hinckley took advantage of an open and clear shot. In two

seconds, Hinckley emptied the gun of six bullets; the bullets struck three officers including President Regan. The bullet that struck Regan was not a direct hit and he lived through the assassination attempt. When the trial began doctors recognized that Hinckley was psychotic. He had had a troubled past, kept to himself most of his life and would study books on Hitler. The defense freely admitted that Hinckley did commit the crime but he was not in control of himself at the time. There was enough evidence to prove that Hinckley was in fact insane at the time of the shootings and he was acquitted. The American people didn t know what to feel about the defense and were scared for a couple of reasons. First they knew Hinckley could be released from the mental hospital, possibly turn

insane again and pose a threat to society once more. Second, the national attention of the trial and how a criminal escaped punishment through the insanity defense would encourage sane criminals to also hide behind the defense . Who is to say that a defendant is sane or insane? Psychiatrists play an important role in the insanity defense, a difficult and debatable role that comes along with degrading criticism. Psychiatrists make two very important decisions in a case involving insanity. They decide if in fact the person is insane and they determine when medical treatment is no longer necessary and the former insane criminal is set free. How sure do psychiatrists have to be in order to determine a person insane and to what extent? Columnist Mike Royko made a pointed

recommendation several years ago regarding the willingness of psychiatrist to release insane, but presumably cured killers. He stated Let the killers baby-sit for the children of doctors recommending their release . This is a great point against the insanity plea and for that reason, stricter rules should be enforced. It is important to add the effects the insanity plea has on the family of the victim. It is obvious that a family will see no justice in a guilty by reason of insanity verdict, even when the killer is the definition of extreme insanity. It is extremely painful to know the killer is getting treatment, when you feel they should be getting the punishment they deserve. In this case, the families feel they have been cheated out and justice can only be received through

understanding, by understanding mental illnesses and the effects it has on humans. Although many Americans disagree with the insanity defense, the defense is still around, but only because it is fair and just for the truly mentally unbalanced. A person could be lost in his own world, not knowing the consequences of his actions or even lose control of his actions because of a mental disability. It is true that any criminal can plea insanity, but the chances of winning the plea are scarce. In popular fiction, movies and literature a defendant is always trying to get off scot-free by pleading insanity. The reality of this is not quite like fiction . First of all, the sure number of attempts at the insanity defense in fiction may cause someone to believe that this is a common

occurrence. This is clearly not the case. An attempt to be found not guilty on the grounds are so rare that members of the criminal justice system could easily go their entire careers with out coming across a single case of this type. When the insanity defense is used it is typically with an individual with a profound mental illness, extremely acute schizophrenia. In this case you have an individual who has so departed from reality that they either do not know that what they are doing is wrong or they are not even aware of their actions. The insanity defense does not provide the ‘free ticket’ to freedom that everyone thinks it does. The individual is still institutionalized and their freedom has been removed and they are required to stay within the hospital as if they were in