M'Naghten rule


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M'Naghten rule

 [mik-naw´ton]
a definition of criminal responsibility formulated in 1843 by English judges questioned by the House of Lords as a result of the acquittal of Daniel M' Naghten on grounds of insanity. It holds that “to establish a defense on the ground of insanity, it must be clearly proved that, at the time of committing the act, the party accused was laboring under such a defect of reason, from disease of the mind, as not to know the nature and quality of the act he was doing, or, if he did know it, he did not know he was doing what was wrong” and further that a defendant who “labors under partial delusions only and is not in other respects insane… must be considered in the same situation as to responsibility as if the facts with respect to which the delusion exists were real.” These rules are still used in many American jurisdictions.

M'Nagh·ten rule

(mik-naw'tĕn),
the classic English test of criminal responsibility (1843): "to establish a defense on the ground of insanity, it must be clearly proved that, at the time of committing the act, the party accused was laboring under such a defect of reasoning, from disease of the mind, as not to know the nature and quality of the act he was doing, or if he did know it, that he did not know he was doing what was wrong."

M'Nagh·ten rule

(mik-naw'tĕn rūl)
The classic English test of criminal responsibility (1843): "to establish a defense on the ground of insanity, it must be clearly proved that, at the time of committing the act, the party accused was laboring under such a defect of reasoning, from disease of the mind, as not to know the nature and quality of the act he was doing, or if he did know it, that he did not know he was doing what was wrong."

M'Naghten,

Daniel, English criminal, tried in March, 1843.
M'Naghten rule - the classic English test of criminal responsibility.
References in periodicals archive ?
In fact, in most jurisdictions that follow the M'Naghten Rule, or some variation of the M'Naghten Rule, the terms are similarly undefined.
377) In dicta, the court further noted that the M'Naghten Rule for insanity was in effect in that jurisdiction, but that the evidence of unconsciousness due to an epileptic seizure did not amount to a mental illness.
The "irresistible impulse" test was developed in an attempt to "improve upon the M'Naghten rule and broaden the standard of insanity" in order to cover those who might recognize the content and wrongness of an act, but nevertheless be unable to control the conduct.
Dissatisfied with the M'Naghten rule, the court in Durham announced that "an accused is not criminally responsible if his unlawful act was the product of a mental disease or defect.
36) Under the M'Naghten rule, the courts charged the jury as if no such mental disease could exist to destroy a person's power of self-control, and that the only way a defendant could be found guilty was if he retained a mental consciousness of right and wrong.
218) Some states even adopted the M'Naghten rule by formal legislation.
Indeed, the first woman who attempted to use a postpartum psychosis defense in the United States was acquitted in 1951 based upon the M'Naghten rule.
Critics of the M'Naghten rule argued that the rule was too restrictive because it failed to recognize degrees of incapacity and focused solely on cognitive disability, disregarding mental illnesses that affect volition.
The M'Naghten rules has been criticized because it is only a cognitive standard and does not have a volitional arm.
The M'Naghten Rules were formulated by I5 judges of the Queen's Bench in response to five questions put to them by the House of Lords when they were called to appear to defend the controversial M'Naghten decision.
8) The infanticide provision required the courts to interpret the relationship between actus reus and a disease of the mind de novo (Walker 1968:131) where the M'Naghten rules would not be satisfied, but without this being adopted as a general principle.
The statistics cited above suggest that although insanity pleas were ostensibly evaluated according to the objective criteria known as the M'Naghten Rules, the insanity acquittal was gendered, and subjective notions of appropriate male and female behaviour dictated how jurors would respond to insanity pleas.