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Insanity and Competency

by: Kirsten Notetaker

Insanity and Competency

Marketplace > Lewis University > Psychology > > Insanity and Competency
Kirsten Notetaker
Lewis University

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Insanity and competency class notes
Forensic Psychology
Dr. Bristow
Study Guide
50 ?




Popular in Forensic Psychology

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This 3 page Study Guide was uploaded by Kirsten Notetaker on Thursday September 22, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to at Lewis University taught by Dr. Bristow in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 20 views. For similar materials see Forensic Psychology in Psychology at Lewis University.


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Date Created: 09/22/16
Insanity Difficulty determining  Insanity is a legal concept that is determined by the trier of fact  It is not a medical or psychological term  The definition of insanity may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction  The examiner must assess the mental state of the individual at the time of the crime Definitions  Mens rea - determining a "guilty mind" is significant to the classification of an illegal act  Is there an intent to do harm?  Is there guilt? This may reflect one's awareness of the act  NGRI - if an individual is found to be not responsible for their criminal act, then it is determined that they a re not guilty by reason of insanity  M'Naghten rule - contains three elements: o The individual was suffering from a "defect of reason, from a disease of the mind" o As a result, the individual did not know the nature and quality of the act he/she was doing o As a result, the defendant did know that what he/she was doing was wrong  The M'Naghten rule is a cognitive test of insanity because it emphasizes the quality of the person's thought process and perceptions of reality at the time of the crime  This rule is used by approximately half od the US  Irresistible impulse exemption standard: o In opposition to the M'Naghten rule, this standard states the following: "If a defendant demonstrated cognitive knowledge of right or wrong, he/she could still be found not guilty by reason of insanity if his/her free will was so destroyed or overruled that the person had lost the power to choose between right and wrong o This refers to the volitional aspect of insanity  The Durham test: o Also in opposition to the M/Naghten rule, this standard states the following by making a broader definition: it states that the accused was not criminally responsible if his/her unlawful act was a product of mental disease or defect o The Durham standard is not strongly supported and is only used in the state of New Hampshire  American law institute, ALI standard o In criticism of the Durham rule, the ALI standard seeks comprehensiveness. It states: "a person is not responsible for criminal conduct if at the time of the actions, as a result of mental disease or defect, he/she lacks substantial capacity either to appreciate the criminality of his/her conduct or to confirm his/her conduct to the requirements of the law" o Currently 20 states use this standard  Guilty buy mentally ill verdict (GBMI) o As a supplement to the insanity defense standards, this recognizes that an individual may be mentally ill but still holds them guilty o Thirteen states, including IL, has this type of verdict o Criticisms of GBMI:  Definition of GBMI and provisions for incarceration and treatment differ from state to state  GBMI is difficult for jurors to distinguish from NGRI, NGRI is an affirmative defense to a crime while GBMI is a verdict  GBMI has not reduced the verdict of NGRI but rather has effected the population that would typically be found guilty  GBMI verdict does not ensure that the offenders will get effective treatment  Burden of proof: o The burden of proof has typically been placed on the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the offender was not insane at the time of the crime o Due to the Hinckley verdict congress shifted the burden of proof to the defense to prove that the accused was insane at the time of the crime Insanity assessment  Rogers criminal responsibility assessment scale (R-CRAS) o A structured diagnostic interview o Five topics are addressed: organicity, psychopathology, cognitive control, behavioral control, and reliability of the report o It is compatible with the ALI definition of insanity  Mental screening evaluation o Screens out those individuals whose actions where not the result caused by a mental abnormality Insanity testimony  A role of an expert witness is "to explore carefully, and to explain to the court, how psychopathological processes at the time of the crime might have influenced the defendant's then-existing perceptions, motivations, cognitions, intentions, and behaviors"  The ultimate issue problem: o "no expert witness testifying with respect to the mental state of condition of the defendant in a criminal case may state an opinion of inference as to whether the defendant did or did not have the mental state of condition constituting an element of the crime charged or of the defense thereto, such ultimate issues are matters for the trier of fact" Competency Competency to stand trial  Competency to stand trial o CST refers to a "a person's ability to understand the nature and purpose of court proceedings, and it is applicable at every stage of the criminal process - interrogations, pretrial hearing, and sentencing hearings  Only a judge decides whether a defendant is competent to stand trial  The issues for CST are: o The ability to relate to his/her attorney o Defendant's understanding of the criminal process including the role of the participants in the process o Defendant's ability to function in the process through consulting with her/her counsel in preparation of a defense o Defendant's understanding of the charges o Defendant's understanding of the range of penalties o The ability to demonstrate appropriate courtroom behavior o The ability to testify in a relevant fashion  Competency screening test  Competency assessment instrument  Fitness interview test - revised  Georgia court competency test  MacArthur competence assessment tool - criminal adjudication  Competency assessment to stand trial for defendants with mental retardation Competency of juveniles  The following conditions are guidelines for the evaluation of competency to stand trial for a juvenile: o Age 12 years or younger o A prior diagnosis of or treatment for aa mental illness or mental retardation o Borderline or lower level of intellectual function, or a recorded learning disability o Observations that suggest deficits in memory, attention, or interpretation of reality Malingering  "The conscious fabrication or gross exaggeration of physical and/or psychological symptoms, done in order to achieve external goals such as avoiding prison or receiving monetary compensation" Insanity and competency  IL: all model penal code standard, burden or proof on defendant, guilty but mentally ill verdicts allowed


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