The Insanity Plea

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The Insanity Plea: The Pros and Cons of its Existence Timothy J. McCardle PSY 105 August 10, 2011 Professor Patricia Dzandu Abstract In this paper I will be reviewing the insanity plea, what the pros and cons are of its existence. Some of the important topics to be reviewed are: definition of not guilty for reason of insanity plea (NGRI), brief history of the insanity plea, the significance of the M’Naghten rule, the Hinckley versus Reagan case and what my opinion is of the NGRI plea. The Insanity Plea: The Pros and cons of its Existence Definition of Not Guilty for Reasons of Insanity Plea (NGRI) According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of Law 2001, the definition of not guilty for reasons of insanity plea is: “A plea by a criminal defendant who intends to raise an insanity defense used in jurisdictions that require such a plea in order for an insanity defense to be presented.” Although a person may enter this plea and be found not guilty, he could still be put into some type of mental institution for a period of time or he could be released so that another person, which could be family member to provide care for him or her. Brief History of the Insanity Plea The insanity defense traces its roots back to the 1843 assassination attempt on British Prime Minister Robert Peel. In this case, a psychotic individual named Daniel M'Naghten intentionally and with premeditation killed an assistant to a prime minister of England because he believed he was being persecuted (Kimberly Collins, Gabe Hinkebein, and Staci Schorgl (3Ls), n.d.). Ever since then, the insanity plea has been used in numerous case throughout the years to try and get people of crimes that knowingly committed, but do not want to admit that they did. What is the significance of the M’Naghten Rule? What is so significant about the M’Naghten rule is that how

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