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Insanity defence

Enric J Novella, Ricardo Campos
Based on an analysis of the discourses, the ideological appropriation and the practical influence of mental hygiene in Spanish psychiatry during the early years of the Francoist regime, this article examines its decline and subsequent replacement by the new concept of mental health promoted by the World Health Organization and other international bodies from the mid-twentieth century. The old approach, essentially focused on the prophylaxis of insanity within the framework of a set of interventionist policies of social defence, was thus transformed from the beginning of the 1960s into a much more ambitious and comprehensive project which sought to promote the psychosocial balance and performance of individuals in the context of increasingly socialized health-related discourses and networks of care...
July 1, 2017: History of Psychiatry
Evelyn M Maeder, Susan Yamamoto, Lesley Zannella
The current study examined the effect of publicity about Canada's recent Not Criminally Responsible (NCR) Reform Act - legislation surrounding accused in insanity cases that purportedly aims to enhance public safety - on juror decision-making. In line with agenda-setting theory, we expected that NCR Reform Act publicity might reinforce certain fears about the insanity defence, dependent on whether it had either a positive or negative evaluative slant. Contrary to previous work on the insanity defence, participants in this study generally favoured a NCR verdict...
September 2016: International Journal of Law and Psychiatry
Pierre Mauritz Joubert, Cornelius Werdie van Staden
Psychiatric expert testimony is challenging in cases of violence when the accused person submits a defence that he or she was so overwhelmed by emotions triggered by an upsetting event that his or her violent behaviour was an uncontrollable consequence of the emotions. This defence is usually presented in terms of an automatism particularly not attributed to a mental disorder. Clouding testimony in these cases is the various definitions of both automatism and mental disorder-definitions by which the jurisprudential distinction is made between a sane and an insane automatism, or pathological and non-pathological incapacity (NPCI)...
September 2016: International Journal of Law and Psychiatry
Samuel Adjorlolo, Heng Choon Oliver Chan, Jacob Mensah Agboli
The involvement of mentally disordered offenders (MDOs) in the criminal justice system (CJS) is currently a major public health concern. This has culminated in several empirical researches over the years, with a particular focus on addressing the problem. The present study examines the criminal and the mental health legislations available to offenders raising fitness to stand trial issues, as well as those pleading insanity at the time of the offense (insanity defense) in Ghana. The legislations are examined within a framework of reducing the overrepresentation of MDOs in the CJS...
March 2016: International Journal of Law and Psychiatry
John H M Crichton
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
October 2015: British Journal of Psychiatry: the Journal of Mental Science
Lisa Claydon
This paper examines some of the issues raised by the current criminal law defence of automatism and the related defence of insane automatism, and considers what neuroscience may contribute to the reform discussion. It also considers some of the claims made in relation to the impact of neuroimaging in the courtroom. It examines an American medical case report in which an individual's criminal behaviour is linked to a brain tumour, and considers how the reformed law as presented in the Law Commission for England and Wales' Discussion Paper might treat such claims...
July 2015: Medicine, Science, and the Law
David Ormerod
The article offers an overview of the Law Commission's project on Insanity and Automatism and the provisional conclusions reached in its Discussion Paper in 2013.
July 2015: Medicine, Science, and the Law
R D Mackay
The automatism defence has been described as a quagmire of law and as presenting an intractable problem. Why is this so? This paper will analyse and explore the current legal position on automatism. In so doing, it will identify the problems which the case law has created, including the distinction between sane and insane automatism and the status of the 'external factor doctrine', and comment briefly on recent reform proposals.
July 2015: Medicine, Science, and the Law
Alec Buchanan
The UK Law Commission's Discussion Paper, Criminal Liability: Insanity and Automatism, recommends introducing the concept of capacity to the insanity defence. The concept of capacity has an established role in those parts of the law that concern the validity of the decisions that people make, for instance in composing a will or entering into a contract. Making mental capacity a criterion for criminal responsibility in a mentally disordered defendant, however, is potentially problematic. First, the term capacity already has several different meanings in the literature on the jurisprudence of mental abnormality...
May 2015: International Journal of Law and Psychiatry
Philip Stevens
Dissociative identity disorder poses numerous medico legal issues whenever the insanity defence emerges. Within the context of the South African criminal law, the impact of dissociative identity disorder on criminal responsibility has only been addressed very briefly in one decided case. Various questions arise as to the impact that the distinctive diagnostic features of dissociative identity disorder could possibly have on the defence of pathological criminal incapacity, or better known as the insanity defence, within the ambit of the South African criminal law...
March 2013: Medicine and Law
Michael Kopelman
This paper reviews the ways in which memory disorders and memory distortions arise in the criminal courts. Amnesia for offences is considered in terms of automatisms, alcohol, and crimes of passion. False memories arise in false confessions, allegations of false memory for child sexual abuse, and, just occasionally, with respect to delusional memories. More generally, memory and neuropsychiatric disorders may have implications at each stage of the legal process (fitness to plead, the insanity defence, cases of automatism, diminished responsibility, and at sentencing)...
2013: Medico-legal Journal
Mansfield Mela, Glen Luther
This text examines how current scientific knowledge has the potential of fulfilling one of the major functions of the criminal justice system. Scientific knowledge should be used to ensure that the criminal justice system's functioning results in maximizing societal protection and crime reduction. Abnormal states of the mind contribute to criminal behaviour and are considered in exculpatory defences. The failure of the long standing insanity defence and its utility among cognitively impaired offenders, provided impetus to this work...
January 2013: International Journal of Law and Psychiatry
S Kaliski
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
March 2012: African Journal of Psychiatry
Lisa Claydon
The timing of the English Law Commission's consideration of reform to the law of insanity coincides with increasing scientific and in particular neuroscientific understanding of the brain. The work of researchers is leading to a greater comprehension of what had been termed irresistible impulses to commit crime and of the impact of brain damage, particularly evidence of brain lesions and frontal lobe damage on behaviour. There remain problems in establishing causal relationships which might diminish or eliminate criminal responsibility for crimes committed by those suffering from pre existing mental conditions at the time they commit a criminal offence...
March 2012: International Journal of Law and Psychiatry
Richard Griffith, Cassam Tengnah
The tragic case of a district nurse killed when a car driven by a man in a hypoglycaemic state struck her while she took her regular evening walk highlights the dangers that can occur when a person with diabetes drives without regard to their condition. The man was later jailed for four and a half years for causing death by dangerous driving having been found criminally responsible for his actions because he failed to control his blood sugar levels during the journey. In this article the authors set out the likely consequences for people with diabetes who fail in their duty to ensure that they are able to drive safely and are unlikely to be affected by the adverse effects of their illness or the medication taken to control it...
February 2011: British Journal of Community Nursing
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
August 13, 1947: Medical Press
Brendan D Kelly
The insanity defence has a lengthy, complex history. This article provides a concise, comparative background to the evolution of criminal insanity legislation and institutions for the mentally ill in the nineteenth century, with particular reference to Ireland and the United States. Three key themes are identified and explored: (a) the emergence of the insanity defence in the nineteenth century (e.g. the McNaughtan Rules); (b) conditions in nineteenth-century asylums and institutions for the 'criminally insane' (with particular reference to overcrowding, physical illness and asylum deaths); and (c) nineteenth-century considerations of criminal responsibility in women with mental illness (with particular reference to medical and judicial views of the relevance of menstruation, pregnancy and child-birth)...
November 2009: International Journal of Law and Psychiatry
Matthew Large, Olav Nielssen, Gordon Elliott
OBJECTIVE: The criminal justice system relies on the opinions of expert witness to assist in decisions about fitness to stand trial (FST) and verdicts of not guilty by reason of mental illness (NGMI). The aim of the present study was to assess the level of agreement between experts about these legal issues using a consecutive series of serious criminal matters in New South Wales. METHODS: Pairs of reports from 110 consecutive criminal matters completed by the New South Wales Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions between 2005 and 2007 were examined...
May 2009: Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry
Maxwell Bennett A O
The McNaughton rules for determining whether a person can be successfully defended on the grounds of mental incompetence were determined by a committee of the House of Lords in 1843. They arose as a consequence of the trial of Daniel McNaughton for the killing of Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel's secretary. In retrospect it is clear that McNaughton suffered from schizophrenia. The successful defence of McNaughton on the grounds of mental incompetence by his advocate Sir Alexander Cockburn involved a profound shift in the criteria for such a defence, and was largely based on the then recently published 'scientific' thesis of the great US psychiatrist Isaac Ray, entitled 'A treatise on the medical jurisprudence of insanity'...
April 2009: Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry
Russ Scott
The insanity defence was elaborated upon through case authority which paralleled the development of phenomenology and treatment of serious mental illnesses, particularly psychotic disorders. In 1843, the rules in McNaughton's Case established a clear formulation for determining whether a person with a mental illness may be held to have been not criminally responsible at the time of an offence. The current legislative scheme in Queensland incorporates the most modern application of the defence of insanity and diminished responsibility and provides the most efficient mechanism by which mentally ill offenders are diverted into care and treatment...
December 2008: Journal of Law and Medicine
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