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The Insanity of the Defense

Legal / Criminal Law

Aplus Legal Advice  |  2022.07.31 17:42  |  168 views

“It is an ill thing to knock against a deaf-mute, an imbecile, or a minor. He that wounds them is culpable, but if they wound him they are not culpable.” (Mishna, Babylonian Talmud) If mental illness is culture-dependent and mostly serves as an organizing social principle – what should we make of the insanity defense (NGRI- Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity)? A person is held not responsible for his criminal actions if s/he cannot tell right from wrong (“lacks substantial capacity either to appreciate the criminality (wrongfulness) of his conduct” – diminished capacity), did not intend to act the way he did (absent “mens rea”) and/or could not control his behavior).



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