insanity defense

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Related to insanity plea: Temporary insanity

defense

 [de-fens´]
behavior directed to protection of the individual from injury.
character defense any character trait, e.g., a mannerism, attitude, or affectation, which serves as a defense mechanism.
insanity defense a legal concept that a person cannot be convicted of a crime if he lacked criminal responsibility by reason of insanity at the time of commission of the crime.
defense mechanism in psychology, an unconscious mental process or coping pattern that lessens the anxiety associated with a situation or internal conflict and protects the person from mental discomfort. In the theory of psychoanalysis, the ego, following the reality principle, conforms to the demands of the outside world, but the id (repressed unconscious), following the pleasure principle, pursues immediate gratification of desires and reduction of psychic tension. The superego (conscience or morality) may take either side. Defense mechanisms develop in order to control impulses or feelings that lead to inner conflicts, to reach compromises between conflicting impulses, and to reduce inner tensions. They help to manage or avoid anxiety, aggression, hostility, resentment, and frustration. Defense mechanisms are not pathological in themselves; they can be a means of dealing with unbearable situations. Among the most common defense mechanisms are denial, displacement, identification, projection, rationalization, reaction-formation, repression, and sublimation.
defense reaction a mental reaction that shuts out from consciousness ideas not acceptable to the ego. See also defense mechanism.

in·san·i·ty de·fense

in forensic psychiatry, the use in the courtroom of insanity as a mitigating factor in the defense of an accused on trial for a serious criminal offense. See: criminal insanity.

insanity defense

Forensic psychiatry A legal defense that a person cannot be convicted of a crime if he lacked criminal responsibility by reason of insanity–a term defined as a matter of law; the premise is that where there is no mens rea because of insanity, there is no criminal responsibility. See American Law Institute Formulation, Durham Rule, Irresistible impulse test, Long Island Rail Road massacre, M'Naughton Rule. Cf 'Black rage' defense, Television intoxication, 'Twinkie' defense.

insanity defense

In legal and forensic medicine, the premise that an insane person who commits a crime is not legally responsible for that act.
References in periodicals archive ?
46) Nearly one million indictments from the sample states were reviewed to identify the 11,616 insanity pleas in the study, making it a truly unique source of investigation of U.
accepting the insanity pleas," (23) this framework does not apply
An examination of the victim-defendant relationships, methods, and circumstances of the crimes in which the insanity plea figured reveals that the vast majority of successful cases shared two primary characteristics: the crimes were unpremeditated and, apparently, motiveless.
After he entered the insanity plea, Holmes was ordered to undergo a mandatory sanity evaluation by the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo.
Judge Carlos Samour said: "I find Mr Holmes understands the effects and consequences of the not guilty by reason of insanity plea.
au, if the insanity plea is accepted by the judge, Holmes would be sent to the state mental hospital, where doctors would determine whether he was insane at the time of the shootings.
Last August, he was found guilty of culpable homicide due to diminished responsibility after a jury rejected his insanity plea.
Yet, we have been dismayed during this same lime period by the apparent persuasiveness of the psychiatric community that, since the insanity plea is invoked and successful in criminal cases only around one percent of the time, there should not be much concern.
A Lane County jury, handed the rare task of deciding the sanity of a confessed kidnapper and rapist, on Wednesday swiftly rejected Malcolm Michael Gerlach's guilty but for insanity plea.
Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry Dr Thomas Szasz of the State University of New York is uncompromising: "The introduction of psychiatric considerations into the administration of the criminal law - for example, the insanity plea and verdict, diagnoses of mental incompetence to stand trial, and so forth - corrupt the law and victimise the subject on whose behalf they are ostensibly employed.
Sirhan's defense team entered an insanity plea, and therefore much of the crucial evidence collected in the Los Angeles Police Department investigation -- including controversial autopsy results -- was never challenged in court.