The Criminal Insanity Defense Term Paper by Nicky

An overview of the insanity defense and its implications in the criminal justice process.
# 146280 | 1,210 words | 4 sources | APA | 2010 | US
Published on Dec 24, 2010 in Law (Criminal)

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The paper explains that the insanity defense concerns the defendant's state of mind when he or she committed the crime. The paper outlines how the definition of criminal insanity originated in British common law, leading to the M'Naghten rule, and points out the controversy surrounding this defense. The paper then discusses how in almost all cases, a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity means being committed to a mental institution until the defendant is deemed to no longer pose a danger to the community. Finally, the paper looks at the rights of those involuntarily committed to a mental institution.

From the Paper:

"When a defendant is found not guilty by reason of insanity, the public often cries out in outrage. However, some people are found guilty and not criminally insane, despite the fact they commit barbarous actions that only an apparently insane individual would commit. The reason for this apparent contradiction is that the legal definition of insanity is different from either the colloquial definition of insanity (as in: 'you're crazy!') and the clinical, psychological definition of insanity. A person can be mentally unbalanced, yet still able to differentiate from right and wrong, and thus legally sane. Although it can be difficult to determine criminal insanity in a justice system "largely designed to weigh facts and evidence," the insanity defense is largely considered a necessary mercy (Martin 1998)."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Durham rule. (2009). Law Dictionary. Retrieved March 5, 2009 At
  • Legal issues. (2009). University of Hawaii. Retrieved March 5, 2009
  • Martin, John P. (1998, February 27). The insanity defense: A closer look. Retrieved March 5, 2009
  • Your rights under involuntary commitment. (1997). Advocacy, Inc. Retrieved March 5, 2009

Cite this Term Paper:

APA Format

The Criminal Insanity Defense (2010, December 24) Retrieved December 02, 2023, from

MLA Format

"The Criminal Insanity Defense" 24 December 2010. Web. 02 December. 2023. <>