Monday, July 8, 2013
Mind Over Matter
· What is the difference between mental illness and insanity? (Hint: What is the important second prong of the McNaughten rule?)
One with a mental illness (a medical diagnosis) knows they suffer from a mental illness, and knows right from wrong, but may perceive right and wrong differently from others who do not suffer from a mental illness. One who is insane (or pleads insanity) does not know something is wrong with them, does not know right from wrong, and does not realize the consequences behind their actions. One’s perception of reality is distorted.
· The McNaughten rule cannot be used to defend the actions of a person who drinks alcohol and then murders someone. Why not?
One who drinks alcohol and then murders someone knew ahead of time that drinking may impair their judgment; therefore, one know ahead of time that drinking may cause complications in their actions. One’s sense of reality is not lost with drinking and one still knows right from wrong. Drinking is not a mental illness, nor does it cause insanity. One’s perception of reality is not distorted.
· Identify each of the following:
· Rational and guilty
Rational and guilty, is when one fully knows and understands the difference between right and wrong and knows they are guilty.
· Guilty but insane
Guilty but insane, is when one is insane, but is perceived as knowing right from wrong in the situation they were involved in; therefore, one is found guilty.
· Not guilty by reason of insanity
Not guilty by reason of insanity, is when one cannot be found guilty because they are found to be insane; one is found to not know the difference between right and wrong.
· If you were deciding this case, how would you rule? Briefly explain your decision.
I would rule guilty but insane. Eric Clark does suffer from a mental illness, but his perception of reality was not distorted. He knew right from wrong and planned to kill a police officer, who happened to be Officer Moritz. His actions were premeditated.