Insanity on Trial

  • Norman J. Finkel

Part of the Perspectives in Law & Psychology book series (PILP, volume 8)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxiii
  2. Historical Development of Anglo-American Insanity Perspectives

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Norman J. Finkel
      Pages 3-22
    3. Norman J. Finkel
      Pages 23-48
    4. Norman J. Finkel
      Pages 49-69
  3. Background Issues—Basic Concepts, False Hopes, and Erroneous Beliefs

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 71-71
    2. Norman J. Finkel
      Pages 73-100
    3. Norman J. Finkel
      Pages 123-151
  4. Prevailing Currents, Unsettling Consequences

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 153-153
    2. Norman J. Finkel
      Pages 183-206
    3. Norman J. Finkel
      Pages 207-238
  5. Future Directions and Recommendations

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 239-239
    2. Norman J. Finkel
      Pages 241-277
    3. Norman J. Finkel
      Pages 279-315
    4. Norman J. Finkel
      Pages 317-350
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 351-374

About this book


The insanity defense debate has come full circle, again. The current round began when John Hinckley opened fire; in 1843, it was Daniel M'Naghten who pulled the trigger; the "acts" of both would-be "insanity acquittees" provoked the press, the populace, a President, and a Queen to expressions of outrage, and triggered Congress, the House of Lords, judges, jurists, psychologists, and psychiatrists to debate this most maddening matter. "Insanity" -which has historically been surrounded by defenses, defen­ ders, and detractors-found itself once again under siege, on trial, and undergoing rigorous cross-examination. Treatises were written on the sub­ ject, testimony was taken, and new rules and laws were adopted. The dust has settled, but it has not cleared. What is clear to me is that we have got it wrong, once again. The "full circle" analogy and historical parallel to M'Naghten (1843) warrant some elaboration. Hinckley's firing at the President, captured by television and rerun again and again, rekindled an old debate regarding the allegedly insane and punishment (Caplan, 1984; Maeder, 1985; Szasz, 1987), a debate in which the "insanity defense" is centrally situated. The smolderings ignited anew when the Hinckley (1981) jury brought in its verdict-"not guilty by reason of insanity" (NGRI).


brain laws psychology rehabilitation schizophrenia

Authors and affiliations

  • Norman J. Finkel
    • 1
  1. 1.Georgetown UniversityUSA

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer-Verlag US 1988
  • Publisher Name Springer, Boston, MA
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Print ISBN 978-1-4612-8924-1
  • Online ISBN 978-1-4613-1665-7
  • Series Print ISSN 0160-4422
  • Buy this book on publisher's site
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