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Word Count: 933
Not Guilty By Means of Insanity When the insanity plea is granted the criminal may be relieved of criminal responsibility by virtue of mental disease The net result of such a determination places an individual accordingly be it placement in a mental facility incarceration or outright release There are several problems raised by the insanity defense Some of these problems include the actual possibility of determining mental illness justifiable placement of judged mentally ill offenders and the overall usefulness of such a defense I believe that these problems along with many others lead us to the conclusion that the insanity plea is useless and should be abolished entirely Insanity is a legal not a medical definition therefore mental illness and insanity are not synonyms Only some mental illnesses constitute insanity Insanity however includes not only mental illness but also some mental deficiencies This has been a major debate between the science world and the legal world for a very long time The major problem with this theory of mental illness is that it is just that a theory To scientists theories are a way of life but when applied to the law theories create many gray areas Every crime involves a physical act or actus reus and a mental act or mens rea The mens rea is the mental element required for a crime If it is absent the defendant is excused from criminal responsibility and punishment This may sound simple but the difficulty lies in analyzing the mens rea In order to do this lawyers apply one of several rules used by psychologists There have been numerous methods of determining insanity dating back to the 1600s During this time the English common law recognized the Absolute Madness standard Then in 1723 the Wild Beast Rule came into play This meant that the person was not guilty by reason of insanity if totally deprived of reason so as to be as an infant
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