Without a way to measure insanity it makes no sense

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defendant's capacity for voluntary choice. Without a way to measure insanity, it makes no sense to let prosecution and defense psychiatrists spar over the issue. A jury's decision based on psychiatrists' opinions may be grounded on unreliable evidence. Another major argument against the insanity defense challenges its supposed moral basis. Critics contend that modern criminal law is concerned more with the consequences of crime and less with moral imperatives. If a person commits a criminal act, that person should be convicted. Mental illness can be taken into consideration at the time of sentencing. This line of reasoning supports laws that several states have adopted, which abolish the insanity defense and replace it with a new verdict of guilty but insane. This verdict carries a criminal penalty. It allows the judge to determine the length of imprisonment, which occurs in a hospital prison, and shifts the burden to the defendant to prove he is no longer dangerous or mentally ill in order to be released. Critics argue that the insanity plea is a rich person's defense. Only wealthy defendants can retain high-priced psychiatric experts. Persons represented by public defenders are usually afforded a psychiatric examination for the defense, but they may not get the same quality of exam, nor are they typically able to hire more than one examiner. However, A study conducted in the early 1990s involving eight states found that less than one percent of criminal defendants used insanity defenses. A quarter of these resulted in successful acquittals. A number of states have replaced the option of pleading "not guilty by reason of insanity" with pleading "guilty but mentally ill". Between 60 percent and 70 percent of cases in which the insanity plea is invoked are for crimes other than murder. Idaho, Montana, and Utah currently prohibit insanity defenses, which has been upheld by the Supreme Court. Page 4
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Dr. Gabriele Jones UMUC Final Exam, PSYC 353 Page 5
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