The Insanity Defense

The Insanity Defense

View the Criminal Law Myth v Reality: The Insanity Defense is Often Used Successfully video. The link is :

It would be helpful to refer to the text’s discussion of the insanity defense before tackling this activity.

The insanity defense is one of the more controversial and complex defenses available to defendants. It is controversial because the public thinks that defendants are excused from punishment when found not guilty as the result of this defense. The complexity lies in the link it makes between the medical and legal professions. Discuss the arguments supporting the insanity defense and what opponents of the insanity defense argue.

Consider the legal implications of the following case. Tom Smith had recently escaped from a mental hospital when he was picked up by a concerned motorist. At a highway rest area, Tom killed the motorist by strangulation. He was charged with murder. On two prior occasions, Tom had been found not guilty by reason of insanity.

The defense presents testimony and evidence that Tom has the IQ of about a ten-year-old child. He has a 35-year history of mental illness, dating back to his return from the Vietnam War. Tom suffers from posttraumatic stress disorder, unable to recover from the horrors he experienced in the war. He is delusional, and he strangled the motorist because he listened to Grateful Dead rock music, which caused Tom to think he was the Antichrist.

The prosecution had no trouble establishing the elements of the crime. The defense attorneys used an insanity defense (irresistible-impulse test), claiming that Tom belongs in a mental hospital, not a maximum-security prison.

If you were the judge in this case, what would you decide? Should Tom be punished as a criminal or treated as a person with a mental illness?

I want the essay to correspond with my choice being that Tom should be treated as a person

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