John Warnock Hinckley, Jr. and the Insanity Defense
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The paper discusses the attempted assassination of President Reagan by John W. Hinckley, Jr. who was tried in the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia and found not guilty by reason of insanity. The paper explains the most critical issue in the Hinckley trial that was the definition of insanity in the legal sense and also addresses the problem of the presumption of insanity in federal courts. The paper considers the public uproar over this trial and discusses the argument that the insanity defense is nothing more than a legal loophole, allowing serious criminals to escape imprisonment. The paper shows how this trial, and its subsequent controversy, has inspired legal changes in the insanity defense.
From the Paper:"On March 30, 1981, the President of the United States was shot in an assassination attempt in from of the Hilton Hotel in Washington, DC John W Hinckley, Jr was detained at the scene and taken into custody. Hinckley was tried in the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia and found not guilty by reason of insanity. Prior to the assassination attempt, Hinckley had been under the care of Dr. John J Hopper, Jr, a psychiatrist in Evergreen, Colorado (Goodman, 1985).
"Following Hinckley's trial, a civil suit against Dr. Hopper was filed in the Federal District Court of Colorado by three of the persons injured in the assassination attempt. Dr. Hopper made a motion to dismiss and the Judge Moore, in a memorandum opinion, ordered that the defendant's motion to dismiss be granted. The substance of the plaintiff's complaint rested upon the theory that Dr. Hopper knew or should have known that Hinckley presented a danger to others, including the capability of political assassination and therefore, had incurred a duty to protect his patient's possible victims wither by warming the proper people or by controlling Hinckley's conduct (Goodman, 1985)."
Sample of Sources Used:
- Arenella, P. (1982). Reflections on Current Proposals to Abolish or Reform the Insanity Defense. American Journal of Law & Medicine. 8(3), 271.
- Carrithers, D. (1985). The Insanity Defense and Presidential Peril. Society. 22(5), 23-27.
- diGenova, J., & Toensing, V. (1983). Bringing Sanity to the Insanity Defense. American Bar Association Journal. 69(4), 466.
- Goodman, T. (1985). From Tarasoff to Hopper: The Evolution of the Therapist's Duty to Protect Third Parties. Behavioral Sciences & the Law. 3(2), 195-225.
- Hans, Valerie P. and Slater, Dan. (1983). John Hinckley, Jr. and the Insanity Defense: The Public's Verdict. Public Opinion Quarterly. 47(2), p.202.
Cite this Analytical Essay:
John Warnock Hinckley, Jr. and the Insanity Defense (2013, April 03) Retrieved May 23, 2019, from https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/john-warnock-hinckley-jr-and-the-insanity-defense-152619/
"John Warnock Hinckley, Jr. and the Insanity Defense" 03 April 2013. Web. 23 May. 2019. <https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/john-warnock-hinckley-jr-and-the-insanity-defense-152619/>