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Transcript of Criminal Insanity
By Anne Dorst & Marie-Lise Rijksen
to what extent does criminal insanity defense differ per culture/country?
to what extent have political systems allowed for the abuse of the criminal insanity defense?
Knowledge issue 1
Knowledge issue 2
Knowledge issue 3
First of all, what is sanity?
Dictionary: the soundness and rationality of the human mind.
culturally and socially accepted behavior;
creating ideals, morals and values in our minds and selling them to other minds.
ability to love, direct your mind, emotions, actions and imagination in a positive way
So, what is insanity then?
Most common definitions:
• Stupid behavior/ eccentric
• Hurting yourself or other(s)
• Unable to function properly
• Being different outside of the socially or culturally accepted norm
• Derangement of the mind
We can depict insane people, but there isn't a clear
How do we truly know then if someone is sane or
How can a society, culture or political system
Definition of Legal Insanity
• first formal definition of legal insanity was adopted with the trial of Daniel M’Naghten in 1843
• M’Naghten test:
“It must be clearly proved that, at the time of the committing of the act, the party accused was laboring under such a defect of reason, from disease of the mind, as not to know the nature and quality of the act he was doing; or if he did know it, that he did not know what he was doing was wrong.”
• 1954: Durham test
- expanded the insanity standard to any behavior that might be the product of a mental disorder
• 1962: American Law Institute (ALI) proposed a legal standard:
“A person is not responsible for criminal conduct if at the time of such conduct as a result of mental disease or defect he lacks substantial capacity either to appreciate the criminality (or wrongfulness) of his conduct or to conform his conduct to the requirements of law.”
• Durham test phased out by the ALI standard
• U.S. use restrictive version of the tradition M’Naghten test or ALI standard
Why is it important?
some forms of insanity can be dangerous. Who is then held responsible?
CRIMINAL INSANITY DEFENSE
- someone not held responsible/not guilty for crime if she/he did not understand the ramifications of the crime at the time due to an altered mental state.
-restricted impulse control
-incompetent to stand a trail; does not understand the proceedings and cooperation with lawyer
- clear person does not know right from wrong during the crime.
WHY IS THIS CREATED?
-unethical to hold someone responsible for crime he/she did not understand
What Is Criminal Insanity And What Are The Ethics Involved In Criminal Insanity (Defense)?
How does it work?
To what extent is the system that convicts the criminally insane ethically and reasonably correct?
psychologists analyze the criminal;
lawyers spend time with criminal
jury analyze during trial
family member opinions
Breivik's morals, ideas and norms are different from his Scandinavian society...
Some psychiatrists say Breivik suffered from disillusions during the process.
Breivik thinks himself completely sane; want his ideas to be taken seriously
But if we can barely define insanity, to what extent are the psychologist(s) correct in their diagnosis?
a psychologist has to account for:
Case 4: Anthony and William Esposito
1941: two brothers robbed a payroll truck in Manhattan
killed an office manager and a police officer in the process.
brothers attempted to prove their insanity through extreme behavior.
court was unconvinced.
Towards the end of their incarceration, they pursued a hunger strike for a total period of 10 months refusing any food.
On the 12th of March 1942, they were taken to the electric chair in a state of near-death and executed.
"study at a mental institution in New York found that some patients spend a far larger amount of time committed than they would have spent in prison for their crimes."
How and for how long should their confinement time be determined?
Steven Steinberg :
Arizona 1981, charged with killing his wife
stabbed 26 times
Steinberg called the police reporting false report
Steinberg claimed he did not remember the crime and was sleeping at the time
he did not deny the fact that he murdered his wife
not guilty; he was temporarily insane when he committed the crime
Members of the jury saying they were aware that they were releasing a killer but he was not criminally responsible for his actions
January 1999, pushed Kendra Webdale in front of train
history of schizophrenia, claimed to hear voices, believed someone had dissected his brain
apparently woman resembled a stripper who on previous occasions sexually frustrated him.
claimed he was using schizophrenia as a false account
Goldstein committed voluntarily to the hospital 13 times in 1997-1998.
- put on waiting list each time
- the second jury convicted him of second
-2006 Goldstein admitted that he was
aware of his actions
In NL, advice reports written by psychiatrists and psychologists
receive help from other psychologists, doctors, psychiatrists and even family members
This is done with direct questions and observation.
PhD psychologist van Esch found 1/3 reports that were unclear between the link of sanity and insanity.
some had no link between the crime and the insanity as described
two contrasting opinions
Suspect sometimes not or barely spoken to about their crime
The court does not report how structurally the analysis of the psychologists were taken
Often the diagnosis is not analyzed later; is the diagonsis still correct when treatment starts?
10% of the reports were ignored
80% of the reports were taken literally
10% of reports were rejected
To what extent should we rely on the reports of the psychologist?
In the Netherlands
psychiatric analysis and later trial (if nescessary after analysis) is mandatory for 'insane' suspect
child molester Robert M declared a pedophile, hypersexual, antisocial and a narcissist
18 years in jail instead of the maximum of 20
25% of courtcases ask psychiatrists for advice (4 of the 5000)
in 1/4 cases where the the patient was insane, advised that the suspect was sane
with depressions 22/580 were advised to be fully sane
only serious addictions are considered for treatment instead of jail time
4/109 of sexual cases are declared for psychological treatment
74/2859 cases of personality disorders were declared in need of treatment.
Norway - case with Anders Breivik
maximum criminal sentence in Norway is 21 years
authorities can extend prison time for those deemed to be a danger to society.
In Norway, definition: out of touch, he cannot control his own actions while committing a crime.
"At least every three years, he can be assessed. If he is non-psychotic, and in addition considered no threat to other people, he will be free, and no new court case."
accept if Breivik spends the rest of his life in government custody.
Oslo deliberately prohibits life sentences, even for the most heinous crimes.
ustice system with its commitment to redemption.
China - cocaine smuggler case
In September 2007, Akmal Shaikh, was detained at Urumqi airport in Xinjiang on charges of drug smuggling.
convicted and sentenced to death in October 2008 and confronts execution.
alleged history of severe mental illness
professional drug smugglers to manipulate him to act as their unwitting agent.
Chinese legislation definition: someone unable to recognise or control his misconduct, and provides for reduction of punishment in cases of partial mental capacity.
The reviewing court had the benefit of no expert opinion on this crucial issue.
the Supreme People’s Court failed to insist on psychological evaluations in accordance with fair procedures.
Last year’s execution of police-killer Yang Jia is only the most notorious illustration.
Yet, Chinese courts have sometimes met the challenge:
Several years ago in Beijing, for example, an American, ultimately diagnosed as a paranoid-schizophrenic, killed his Chinese wife because of the delusion that she was poisoning him.
The trial court called for a thorough examination by experts at a local mental hospital.
Thank you so much for listening :)
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Criminal insanity defense is in found in the International Law
It is stated in the laws of almost every country in the world
In US, UK and Ireland the use of defense is rare
steadily increased since 1991
In UK and Wales, court can mandate hospital order, a restriction order, a "supervision and treatment" order or an absolute discharge.
institutionalized until they are no longer a threat
US, variances in the insanity defense between states, and in the federal court system, are different by:
(1) Whether to provide the insanity defense
(2) how to define "insanity,"
(3) the burden of proof.
John Hinckley's shooting of President Reagan
- he wanted to impress the actress Jodi Foster with his bravado
- public unaware he spent the rest of his life in confinement (albeit with some supervised home visits)
- demanded changes in the law of insanity defense
- legislatures across U.S. responded with drastic measures
- several state legislatures — including Arizona — virtually abolished the
- demonstrate that he did not appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct
- further marginalization of insanity defense
- severely mentally ill defendants hardly make it to trial
- incompetent to stand trial
- usage of mental illness as a plea bargaining chip to mitigate their sentence
- political systems attempt to avoid misuse of insanity defense, however this carries serious consequences
court system considers whether victim was psychotic when performing the criminal act.
In Sweden, psychotic perpetrators are seen as accountable, but the sanction is to forensic mental care
In Denmark and Norway, psychotic perpetrators are declared guilty, but are sentenced to mandatory treatment.
In Norway, definition: "a person who at the time of the crime was insane or unconscious is not punished".
In Denmark, definition: "Persons, who, at the time of the act, were irresponsible owing to mental illness or similar conditions or to a pronounced mental deficiency, are not punishable".
In Finland, punishments can only be administered if the accused iS of sound mind.
The definition similar to the M'Naught criterion.
he becomes a patient under the jurisdiction of THL
released immediately once the conditions of involuntary commitment are no longer fulfilled.
March 22nd, 2013: Atwater man pleads insanity in deadly shooting
March 30th, 2013: Wilkinson tries insanity plea for dragging death of Willits grandfather
April 1st, 2013: Schaffhausen Trial For Daughters’ Deaths Begins
- 1994 (U.S.): .9 percent (less than one per one hundred felony indictments) resulted in the use of an insanity defense
- however, insanity defense occurring more frequently
- very debatable issue in news
Case 1: John DuPont
- shot his best friend in in front of his friend’s family
- No one disputed fact that DuPont was a paranoid schizophrenic
- believed that the man he was shooting was a Russian spy who was sent to kill him and who had taken over the body of his friend
- believed he was the Dalai Lama and the Pope
- no idea what he had done
- did not appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct
- did not understand nature of what he was doing
- however, a compromise verdict devised by Pennsylvania legislature to curtail use of the insanity defense was used
- DuPont was found guilty and mentally ill
- he was sentenced to life imprisonment and received no psychiatric treatment
- abuse of the concept of the insanity defense?
Case 2: Jared Loughner
- 2011 Tucson (Arizona) shooting
- pleaded guilty to 19 charges of murder and attempted murder in connection with the shooting in Tucson
- shot and severely injured U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords, his target
- killed six people
- shot and injured 12 other people, one man was injured while subduing him
- after arrest, two medical evaluations diagnosed him as paranoid schizophrenic
- conservative environment in Arizona
- predisposition for blaming these horrible crimes on Loughner’s insanity rather than on political rhetoric and unregulated guns could have occurred
- insanity defense could be abused in this way
- implications of this abuse for the perpetrator and society
Case 3: Ferdinand Ambach
- Ronald Brown met Hungarian tourist, Ambach, in a bar and took him back to his flat
- Ambach claims that Brown, who was gay, made unwanted sexual advances towards him
- Ambach killed Brown with
- plea for gay panic defense
- theory: someone might find homosexual advances so horrific that they will “snap”; effectively entering a state of temporary psychosis
- plea accepted, Ambach found not guilty of murdering Brown,
but guilty of manslaughter
- gay community upset; want sentence that reflects seriousness of the attack
- possibility for reforming the insanity defense
- need for a psychological defect plea
- perpetrator would still serve time for his or her crimes but could not be put to death
- he or she would be able to receive treatment or therapy and would be subjected to psychologists and criminologists’ studies