The issue about the insanity defense has always been arising hundreds of question and doubts, whether it should be allowed or not. There were many cases, which became famous or notorious because the defendant used insanity defense argument to protect himself or herself from being imprisoned, though there was no vivid proof of the insanity possibility. The impact that this kind of defense has on the court, can be argued both from legal and psychological points of view. In my work, I will try to better explain what insanity defense is, why it is so dubious, and what are the consequences of this kind of argument in particular cases that I will use as my main testimonies and examples.
First of all, let me elaborate myself about what exactly is insanity defense and give you some particular facts and details that will help you to get a better understanding of the issue. “In a criminal trial, the insanity defenses are possible defenses by excuse, via which defendants may argue that they should not be held criminally liable for breaking the law, as they were mentally ill at the time of their allegedly criminal actions”(Insenity Defense, 2007). This condition, however, should not be confused with complete insanity, as far as this implements the medical term for mentally ill, which is not the case here. Moreover, the explantion of insanity varies in different jurisdictions, therefore, should not be used.
Insanity defense is used in the United States, while Canada and Australia renamed this in ‘mental disorder defense’. The insanity defense is allowed and can be use in any jurisdiction that respect human rights and the basic laws, though the extent to which these laws and rules can be used differ from the state or from the country. “Where the self defense is not available, a defendant may be forced to choose between an insanity defense and provocation” (Insanity defense). This kind of defense is checked and determined by the means of realising if the person who is guilty can distinguish what is right from what is wrong. If the person cannot do that or there are certain doubts if can do that, then he can plead being not guilty due to his insanity. Defendants try to use this option in order to retrain from being regarded as insane, thus letting the sentence range from life imprisonment to a complete relief from the sentence. So why do we actually need insanity defense? Do we want people to fake insanity and walk free instead of being in prison? According to Washington Post, “It is an attempt to impose a moral check on a system largely designed to weigh facts and evidence. Thus, it allows judges and juries to decide some defendants aren’t “criminally responsible” for their actions even though those acts might be a crime under different circumstances, just as a child who accidentally starts a fire shouldn’t be treated as an arsonist”. As we can see, insanity defense is used primarily to check the reliability of the court decisions that are made.