The insanity plea
The insanity plea
Crimes are committed everyday, by many different people all over the world. Crime is something that seems impossible to defeat, with some crimes more magnificent than others. These crimes are all inexcusable and those people who commit crimes should be punished. The punishment should fit the crime, meaning that, if you do something extreme, like murder someone, you should not be allowed to defend yourself by reasoning of insanity. No crime, especially a murder should go uncharged which is why the insanity plea should be abolished. It allows for the “mentally insane” people to go virtually unpunished for their crime. For hundreds of years civilized courts have recognized that, when a person who is mentally unstable is accused of a crime, it is a special circumstance and they must be deal with in a different manner than a sane person would.
Granted the opponent must have some valid points and arguments, but arguments that oppose the insanity plea use much stronger and logical reasoning.
One reason the insanity plea should be abolished is that it imposes a threat on the safety of the innocent and sane, American public. A large number of Americans feel that the insanity plea should be erased or altered to protect their own safety. One idea would be to prevent the use of the insanity plea when more extreme cases such as murder are on trial. Using the insanity plea in a murder case and getting away with it shakes the security of American people. Would anyone like to know that a murder who had left the mental institution after pleading mentally insane would be walking shoulder to shoulder with them or someone they loves out on the streets. This is a great fear behind the insanity defense because many non-guilty verdicts have set the violent offender free and he committed another violent crime.
Another fault of the insanity plea is that mistaken diagnosis is a very real and serious possibility. Whether the mental symptoms are diagnosed by observation and evaluation, or by performing tests and taking x-ray pictures, there is an uncomfortably large margin of error.
Malfunctions of the brain still remain a mystery in the scientific world, and if they are not understood a sane person posing as insane could be mis-diagnosed. Of course, what is sometimes known as mistaken diagnosis is simply the doctor being bribed to declare the offender insane. When one doctor or a number of doctors declare their patient is insane it gives the jury no reason to believe he is not insane, which leaves the man free as a bird.
Most of the testimonies given in court when there is an insanity defense is being used, are given by medical doctors and psychologists. The average juror who has not been through medical school and attained his degree in medicine cannot always understand the doctors’ testimonies.
While the jurors are still trying to comprehend what the doctors have said, things become more confusing. The doctors often have different views and opinions on the same matter, and all of this confusion prevents a knowledgeable conclusion to the trial. This leaves the jurors to do guesswork. Defendants fake mental illness, and their attorneys use this loophole as a way to confuse jurors with complicated and questionable psychiatric evaluations. Most defendants who are found not guilty by reason of insanity are released from mental hospitals years, if not decades, earlier than they would be had they served prison sentences. The insanity defense ensures that criminals can avoid the punishment that fits their crimes. The jurors, not knowing all the evidence and reasoning behind it, side with the intelligible doctors because after all, shouldn’t they know the right answers behind this?
Those who oppose the insanity defense find fairness to be another problem. The defendant who pleads insanity has hired his own medical team to evaluate him. This often leads to corruption in a rich man’s trial, because he can afford to buy his doctor’s verdicts. This idea is very unfair in that, the wealthy can afford to hire expensive doctors and defenses and are more likely to get off with a non-guilty verdict whereas the poor man or middle class man has less of a chance even if they are actually insane. This presents a violation of the very basic concept that all people, regardless oh their wealth or social status, should be given the equal treatment they deserve when in a court of law.
Perhaps the most important reason to abolish the use of the insanity plea is that, those who are using the plea have committed a crime. These people are using the insanity plea as a way to get away with their crime and not have to pay the time, which is a very irresponsible action, as was their crime. If these people are indecent enough to commit a crime against anyone or anything and then try to turn it around and make themselves look like the victims they should certainly be punished instead of getting the not guilty verdict that sends them to the institution, where they will later be released.
If a person is truly insane and cannot be counted on to know the difference between right and wrong, this should be seen beforehand by medical doctors, declared insane and then taken out of society’s reach for the safety of the innocent. Those who are harmful to the public should be kept away, not as a measure of cruelty. Because all humans should have their rights, but to ensure safety of those who have done nothing wrong and do not deserve to have harm inflicted upon them.
All of these arguments contribute to the idea that pleading insane just to stay out of prison, and be allowed to go back on the streets is absurd and unconstitutional. The insanity plea is a poor excuse for serious lawbreaking, and should not change the extent of punishment. In the majority of criminal cases, especially murder trials, the insanity plea is merely a defense strategy aimed at delivering guilty defendants from the death penalty or serving time in prison.
Crimes will continue to take place each and every day and there will be times that the insanity defense will become a way out for those who have committed the crime. This is why a change in the insanity defense, or a complete removal, should be taken into consideration by the American body of law. If not, irresponsible and immoral criminals will abuse use of the insanity defense.