A Conversation for Insanity and The Law

Insanity & the Law

Post 1

Researcher 235667

We may have a delema here, we have to put our trust in the psychiatrists who determine whether or not someone is sane. It's a bit like the saying 'who judges the judge?' We have heard of psychiatrists releasing 'mental patients' back into the community, only for them to repeat their crime, sometimes with devistating results. What is the answer? do we keep them all locked up just in case, or do we look at the fact that everyone has a right to freedom, once he or she has served his or her sentance! How do we know that the psychiatrist hasn't a latent mental disorder that hasn't shown itself yet.(broad example-Dr Shipley from Manchester-is he insane?).


Insanity & the Law

Post 2


There are some who when charged with certain crimes have attempted to beat the rap by using the defence of insanity.
When someone has shown evidence of guilefully planning to commit a crime, it betrays a sound (albeit evil) reasoning that is inconsistent with the mind and actions of an insane person.
There are some criminals who have shown sophistication in the commission of brutal murders yet have shown up in the dock looking and acting like the typical village idiot in a desperate attempt to feign insanity. More than one of them has have gotten off, spending a few years in the psych wards and then have so " miraculously " recovered to the extent that they were released by the authorities; effectively extricating themselves from their life sentences.
Courts should never fully rely on the assessments of psychiatrists or psychologists. Nobody can rightfully assess anyone's motives. It is all speculation. The basis for acquittal due to insanity should rest solely in the available evidence that points to an individual who at the time of the offense was viewed as incapable of appreciating his/her actions and gave no evidence whatsoever of having planned the offense.
It should have nothing to do with how they behaved in interviews or medical assessments subsequent to their arrests.

Insanity & the Law

Post 3

Rwth of the Cornovii

It seems to me that if someone is apparently sane, but commits a crime whilst severely upset/ or provoked, they could be insane. If a psychiatrist would have sectioned them at the time, then they were insane.

Mental illness can reach a crisis and then dissipate, however if a person is insane but untreatable, they cannot be kept incarcerated to prevent them from committing a crime. Unless that is, they have done so already. I refer to a sociopath or psychopath. I wonder how a person can be so, or become so without attracting attention.

If Ted Bundy for example, was regarded as insane because he became a serial killer, was he insane before he killed anyone? Or is it not only insane but criminal to disregard the interests of other people. Was he a mutation, normal but unacceptable? or was he insane? Was he mad or just bad?

There are corporate killers, such as those who continued to market cigarettes when they knew they caused Cancer. The company had to pay huge damages, but weren't the movers of that campaign personally responsible for their actions? Can they be indemnified by their corporate status only to be liable for financial compensation? Such disregard for other people is sociopathic in my opinion.

Insanity & the Law

Post 4


Hi Aunty Satya

Well, you raise some good points.

I think the term " insanity " has been used to describe certain criminals in a way that it wasn't a century ago. In past centuries, the term " insane " was a descriptive denoting people whose behaviour was reduced to the level of a wild animal i.e. they had no moral appreciation of what they had done (void of conscience, remorse, and completely unmoved by their evil actions.). It seems that if people are capable of devising plans to commit crime, they could hardly be deemed to be insane -- at least for the time up to and including the commission of the offense.

In Canada, at least, the term " insane " is often used by the smarter defence attorneys as a convenient substitute for " mentally ill. " And as for psychiatry, it is hardly an exact science (if scientific at all). Ted Bundy was far too methodical, evasive and lucid to be described as a looney, thus his jury wisely refused to declare him legally "insane." Ditto the Green River killer (I forget his name).

I agree with your assessment of corporate killers (you forgot to include the booze merchants whose products create far more havoc and disaster than the tobacco growers/cigarette manufacturers). Yes, they all should pay big-time. But they are only partly to blame. The federal governments who reap the excise/sin tax benefits are the real criminals for aiding and abetting the proliferation of alcohol/tobacco related sickness and disease.


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