substantial capacity test

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substantial capacity test

A legal test for defining a person as “insane” under the law, which the court will accept if it finds that the defendant had a mental defect such that he or she lacked the substantial capacity to either:
(1) appreciate the wrongfulness of his or her conduct; or
(2) conform his or her conduct to the law.

The substantial capacity test combines elements of the M’Naughten test and the irresistible impulse test.
References in periodicals archive ?
The Model Penal Code test is much broader than the previous
standards, the Model Penal Code test reflects the conclusion that no
(65) The Model Penal Code Test for Legal Insanity, FINDLAW.COM,
Part II then argues that black rage also fits into a diminished capacity role, meeting the requirements of the Model Penal Code test for mitigating murder to voluntary manslaughter.
The first prong--the appreciation of criminality--is a substantial revision of the M'Naghten test, collapsing its redundant prongs, substituting the more lenient 'appreciate' for the stricter know," and allowing jurisdictions the option to resolve the moral-legal question by inserting either "criminality" or "wrongfulness."(88) The second prong--the conforming of conduct--restates the irresistible impulse test but avoids the ambiguous word "impulse."(89) The Model Penal Code also modifies both of its prongs with "lacks substantial capacity" and thus departs from both earlier tests in requiring less than total incapacitation.(90) As a result, the Model Penal Code test is broade-r-and some would say more realistic--than the earlier tests.(91)
Because the Model Penal Code test requires only a lack of "substantial capacity" to appreciate the criminality or wrongfulness of one's conduct or to control one's impulses, more instances of black rage will qualify as a sufficient mental disease or defect.(92) As for the cognitive and volitional prongs, the Model Penal Code test essentially restates the satisfiable cognitive prong of the M'Naghten test and the satisfiable volitional prong of the irresistible impulse test.
Unlike the M'Naghten test and like the Model Penal Code test, however, the federal test requires appreciation rather than knowledge of the nature and quality or wrongfulness of the criminal conduct.(104) Thus, in this limited sense, the federal test is slightly broader than M'Naghten.
(91) About half of the states and all but one of the federal courts of appeals had adopted the popular Model Penal Code test by 1980.
The product test is more forgiving than the M'Naghten, the irresistible impulse, and the Model Penal Code tests, both with respect to the mental disease or defect requirement and with respect to the cognitive and volitional prongs.