Posted: March 24th, 2023
In order to convict a person for a crime he /she has committed, the prosecution has to prove that the individual not only engaged in a guilty act but also had guilty intentions. However, when an individual commits a criminal act and had a criminal intent but was suffering from either a mental or physical condition that obstructed their ability to understand that they did something wrong is termed as the insanity defense (Worth & Austin 22).
Abnormal behavior comes in different patterns and can be mental or behavioral in nature (Nevid and Spencer 8). For instance, the 1977 case of Francine Hughes shows that she was mentally disturbed after years of abuse by her husband. The 1994 case of Lorena Bobbit is also a good case of mental insanity because she lacked the willpower to control her actions after enduring years of abuse.
The 2006 case of Andrea Yates too did not deserve a conviction because her reasoning was so defective at the time she murdered her children and did not understand her wrongdoing. However, religious reasons that cannot be proven should not be considered for insanity defenses such as the 1980 case of Mark Chapman and the 1978 case of David who claimed to receive demonic messages. However, we also have criminals who try to use the insanity defense to escape punishment such as Kenneth (1979), Hinckley (1981), Jeffery (1992), and Mohammed (2003) (Worth & Austin 79).
In my opinion, the insanity defense is a controversial issue. Some people try to use it to escape punishment for criminal acts. However, I believe that it would be unfair to punish a person who has no control over rationality and lacks moral responsibility.
Nevid, Jeffrey S., and Spencer A. Rathus. Abnormal Psychology in a Changing World. 6th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2005. Print.
Worth, Richard, and Austin Sarat. The Insanity Defense. Philadelphia, PA: Chelsea House, 2001. Print.
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