insanity defense

(redirected from Criminally insane)
Also found in: Dictionary, Legal.
Related to Criminally insane: insanity plea, Not guilty by reason of insanity, GBMI


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 ?
Will Dr Cawley (Ben Kingsley) be able to shed any light inside the island's hospital for the criminally insane when he simply says: "It's as if she evaporated through the walls"?
State broadcaster NRK reported on Wednesday that three of the review panel's members had "big objections" to the initial report declaring Breivik criminally insane, but today commission statement gave no such indication.
If the report is officially confirmed, it will run counter to an initial evaluation late last year that found the 33-year-old right-wing extremist criminally insane and will thus relaunch the debate on whether or not he can be sentenced to prison for the twin attacks.
If the court decides he is criminally insane, he will be committed to psychiatric care; if he is judged to be mentally stable but found guilty, he will be facing a sentence of 21 years which could be extended to keep him behind bars for the rest of his life.
An initial psychiatric evaluation concluded that Breivik was criminally insane while a second, completed in the past week, found no evidence of psychosis.
It was huge--a mile-long tent that snaked along the East River on Randall's Island, home to a kids' soccer stadium and a hospital for the criminally insane.
Lianne Smith, 45, claimed she was criminally insane when she killed Rebecca, five, and Daniel, 11 months.
Ashworth, near Maghull in Merseyside, is home to prisoners deemed criminally insane.
And Zeta-Jones told how impressed she was with the calibre of talent that had been assembled for the movie, in which she also gets to act with fellow countryman Sir Anthony Hopkins, playing a mad scientist who's been incarcerated in an asylum for the criminally insane for the past 30 years.
It's a pick for Detroit and music history collections alike, offering a vivid portrait of an American city and its many musical styles and musicians; from punk rocker Iggy Pop to Alice Cooper's unlikely audience in the form of inmates from a hospital for the criminally insane.
The storyline travels from Estonia to an abandoned institution for the criminally insane in Philadelphia, giving you glimpses of how understanding of mental illness has evolved.
A friend of mine in Glasgow told me it was for the criminally insane, and I thought 'Oh my God'.