Indian Journal of PsychiatryIndian Journal of Psychiatry
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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 58  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 191-198

The insanity defense: Related issues


Department of Psychiatry, SRM Medical College and Research Institute, Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
T V Asokan
Prof of Psychiatry, SRM Medical College & Research Institute, Kattankulathu,Kanchipuram District,Tamilnadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0019-5545.196832

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For the past 150 years, there is no change in the understanding and knowledge other than autonomy and capacity to choose the right and wrong for criminal liability. The alternative concept that human behavior is the result of an interaction between biological and environmental factors other than free choice failed to impress the criminal justice system because of a direct threat to a society's deep seated need to blame someone than themselves for criminal harms that occur. The insanity defense has a long history, and is evolved after many tests that have been tried and tested. McNaughton's rules stressed on "understandability of right and wrong" and "intellectual" rather than a moral or affective definition dominated in its formulation. Lack of control and irresistible drives or impulses were neglected Going by the current understanding of neurological evidences of compulsion and lack of impulse control, rationality tests without the inclusion of lack of control, seem to be outdated. Separate "Control determination" than the "Rationality determination" by the jurors may improve the accuracy of Juror's categorizations. There is a suggestion that Relevance ratio is ideal for 'Evidentiary relevance" and there should be a quality control on expert testimonies. With progress in neuroscience, the law may need to abandon or alter some of its current assumptions about the nature of voluntary conduct, which underlies various defenses



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