Read the full transcript of this episode.

The criminal culpability of people with mental illness has long been hotly debated. Recently, the “insanity defense” has received particular scrutiny as John W. Hinckley, who shot President Ronald Reagan and members of his staff in 1981, has been released from the inpatient mental facility where he has lived since 1982. Many, including Reagan’s family members, think the insanity defense Hinckley used allowed him to get off without facing the consequences of his actions. This got us wondering: where did the insanity defense come from? Join Marissa, Sarah and Averill as they talk about crime, mental illness, and the law.

 


Show Notes and Further Reading 

Asmar, Melanie. “What happens when accused killers plead insanity?” Westward, February 6, 2014. 

Data, Vivek. “When Homosexuality Came Out (of the DSM).” Mad in America 1 Dec 2014. 

Collins, Kimberly, Gabe Hinkebein, and Staci Schorgl (3Ls), “The John Hinckley Trial and Its Effects on the Insanity Defense.”

Ford, Dana. “Judge orders Texas teen Ethan Couch to rehab for driving drunk, killing 4,” CNN 6 Feb 2014. 

Greyhound Bus Killer Found Not Criminally Responsible,” CBC News. 

Hannah, Jim. “Teen won’t claim mental illness in murder trial.” Cincinnati Enquirer, Cincinnati, Ohio, 11 Jan 2011

Jewett, Brandi. “Finley woman accused of murder claims mental illness.” Grand Forks Herald  May 7, 2014. 

Kenneally, Thomas. American Scoundrel: The Life of Notorious Civil War General Dan Sickles. New York: Anchor Books, 2003.

Lennard, Natasha.  “‘He is sane’: James Holmes’ trial showed that the insanity plea is a mess,Fusion.net  July 17, 2015. 

Lopez, Christina. “Mom Accused of Drowning Girl Wins With Insanity Defense; Now, Can She Re-Enter Society?”  ABC News  January 27, 2013.

Martin, John P. “The Insanity Defense: A Closer Look,” The Washington Post February 27, 1998. 

Matejkowski, Jason C. MSW, Sara W. Cullen, MSW, and Phyllis L. Solomon, PhD, “Characteristics of Persons With Severe Mental Illness Who Have Been Incarcerated for Murder,” J Am Acad Psychiatry Law 36:74 – 86, 2008

Parker, Sam. “Determination of Insanity in Criminal Cases,” Cornell Law Review Volume 26, Issue 3 April 1941. 

Rosenberg, Charles. The Trial of the Assassin Guiteau: Psychiatry and the Law in the Gilded Age. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995.

Saxton, Martha. Being Good: Women’s Moral Values in Early America. New York: Hill and Wang, 2003.

Utah law found excuses for homosexual institutionalization” 26 Oct 2012. 

U.S. Supreme Court Decision on Insanity Defense: Clark v. Arizona,” Treatment Advocacy Cente 


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Feature Image: Modified by Averill Earls; Original image Harper’s Weekly engraving of the Dan Sickles murder trial in Washington, D.C., 1859.


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