Insanity Defense 1
Currently Florida State Legislature abides by the M’Naughten Rule. An individual
lacking a mens rea is not a valid excuse for them to get away with a crime. I propose that
the Florida State Legislature adopt the Guilty but Mentally ill standard. If a person cannot
tell what they were doing was wrong, if their actions were a consequence of a mental
disease or if they just suffered a temporary lapse of insanity, they should still be punished
for the harm they caused on society.
In the M’Naughten Rule the defendant may be found not guilty by a reason of
insanity if at the time committing the crime the individual was lacking the ability to
determine the nature and quality of the act he was doing, and/or if he did know, he did not
know the act was wrong. This standard can also be referred to as the “right/wrong” test.
A Guilty but mentally ill verdict allows a mentally ill defendant to be found
criminally liable and will be sentenced like any other person found guilty of a crime. The
court decides to what extent they need treatment and will receive psychiatric treatment
while incarcerated in a mental hospital. When, and if, the defendant is determined to be
treated of their mental illness they will be moved to a prison to serve the remaining of their
sentence, unlike an insanity-defense acquittee who would be released from psychiatric
commitment once he is deemed to be no longer dangerous.
They are numerous mental illnesses that people suffer from, they may have
hallucinations, delusions, poor cognitive thinking, etcetera. A mental illness or disease is
not something a person can control, there is a neurological defect within that person that
should be treated. Receiving a guilty but mentally ill has the dual purpose of satisfying
society’s need to punish the guilty while also ensuring this individual while be placed in a
Insanity Defense 2