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Mad about the Insanity Defense Today in our legal system there are many questionable defense tactics They are designed to protect the rights of the charged and further the cause of justice However in many cases this betterment of justice has been taken too far and thus pleas such as Temporary insanity are born Indeed as will be proven the insanity defense in itself has been stretched nearly to its breaking point The insanity defense will be critically examined here and proven in some cases necessary while others have no right using the plea The history of the insanity defense goes back as far as government Yet as Thomas Maeder stated in his book Crime and Madness the Origins and Evolutions of the Insanity Defense surprisingly enough Throughout most of history there have been no specific criteria for exculpatory insanity3 In ancient Hebrew times as Maeder notes the law simply states that idiots lunatics and children below a given age are not to be held criminally responsible 3 Indeed in Ancient Greek and Roman cultures nothing has survived to show any adaption to this exception save a part of Platos Laws 3 Platos Laws says that if a defendant is senile a child or proven insane he should be responsible for no more than the payment of civil damages Except that if he has killed someone and his hands are polluted by murder he must depart to a place in another country and live there in exile for a year Maeder 3 Furthermore there are scarce traces of early insanity cases thus it is difficult to make generalizations about the defense yet there have been some noted cases where the defendant was sentenced to life in prison Maeder 4 By the fifteenth centuryIf the defendant had committed the act they had to convict if he was insane or a minor or had killed in self-defense they could recommend mercy Maeder 5 In
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