Acquittal by Reason of Insanity
Our criminal law is premised on this assumption: Because an individual has the ability to choose between socially acceptable and socially unacceptable behavior, he or she can be held responsible for conduct that violates the law. Thus, an individual who chooses to commit a crime is morally blameworthy and therefore an appropriate subject for punishment. The insanity defense developed as a device to exclude from criminal responsibility people whom society views as not blameworthy. A severely mentally disordered individual is not considered blameworthy because he or she lacks the capacity (free will) to form the intent to commit a criminal act.
KeywordsSupra Note Criminal Trial Civil Commitment United States Supreme Maximum Security
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