Argumentative Essay: The Insanity Defense

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The insanity defense is used when an accused individual claims that they should not be held criminally responsible for their behavior/crime based on the fact that they are mentally ill. The defendant states that their actions took place during the handicap of a mental illness or during a psychiatric episode. The insanity defense is used about one percent of the time and is successful only in about 26% of those cases. Three states (Montana, Idaho, and Utah) do not allow use of the insanity defense. John Schrank shot President Roosevelt during the campaign for Roosevelt's second term. Schrank was a bartender in New York who claimed that William McKinley came to him in a dream and told him to kill the incumbent President. He shot Roosevelt at close range in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, hitting the President's chest where he was protected by a metal eyeglasses case and a copy of his campaign speech. The bullet lodged 3 inches into Roosevelt's chest but did not injure any of his vital organs. Roosevelt delivered his…show more content…
The first legal test is called the M'Naghten rule from 1843, that required the individual not know right from wrong during the act. Later, in 1953, the Durham rule required that the crime be the product of a "mental defect or disease." The Model Penal Code combined the two rules in 1972, setting forth that an insanity defense applied when an individual did not possess "substantial capacity either to appreciate the criminality of his conduct or to conform his conduct to the requirements of the law." The most recent requirement to the insanity defense was set during the Reagan administration as part of the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984. This rule requires that the defendant prove by "clear and convincing evidence" that "at the time of the...offense, the defendant, as a result of severe mental disease or defect, was unable to appreciate the nature and quality or the wrongfulness of his

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