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 ?
(81) Russ Buettner, Mentally Ill, but Insanity Plea is Long Shot,
All the defense needed was to persuade one juror to negate the death penalty, and that is what it achieved, using many of the same arguments that failed to satisfy the insanity plea in the first place.
(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.S.-wide practices.
did the AMA vote to abolish the insanity plea despite entreaties to the
The use of settled insanity pleas has been controversial.
In 2003, despite his insanity plea, he was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
Years of research suggest "an enduring pattern of public animosity to the insanity plea. (52) In one telling study, Richard Jeffrey and Richard Pasewark found that, even after providing factual data on the actual use and success of the insanity defense, many study participants maintained their misconceptions that the defense is "overused and abused." (53) Thus, despite incontrovertible evidence, negative attitudes and the myths with which they are associated are not only prevalent but also appear inflexible.
That rule, which originated in England in 1843, allows for an insanity plea when a defendant, because of a mental disease, either does not know the ''nature and quality'' of his actions or doesn't realize that those actions are wrong.
The jury's rejection of Yates' insanity plea under the strict M'Naghten formulation typifies the inherent shortcomings of the M'Naghten standard as applied to women with a post-partum psychosis.
Failing to deal frankly with the insanity plea is a serious oversight, I think, because a great deal more than meets the eye hinges on whether we should regard the incidents which earned Brown his notoriety--the murder of five pro-slavery Kansans in 1856, raids on slaveholders and slave-liberation attempts in Kansas and Missouri, and the final, botched raid on Harper's Ferry--as the acts of a clinical delusionary.
He admitted strangling 18-year-old Elza Kungayeva during an interrogation in 2000, but was initially let off on an insanity plea. The ruling was greeted with relief by pro-Moscow Chechen politicians who said it would help win support for the Kremlin's peace plan in Chechnya and smooth the way towards election of a new Chechen president in October.