Who or what inspired the “insanity defense”?
A day has come and gone when a murder trial might include an animal. Modern conceptions of what constitutes murder and who may be held morally responsible for an act make this appear unthinkable in today’s New York. Discuss your case with a Syracuse criminal defense lawyer.
A murderer cannot be an animal.
The entire legal process surrounding defining these legal concepts needs to change to alter the policy regarding trying animals for murder. There is still widespread agreement that an animal lacks the moral reasoning capacity to commit murder. It was only after it was established that an animal couldn’t possibly understand the morality of its conduct that it became acceptable to question whether or not all humans have this comprehension.
The topic of discourse shifted to the issue of whether or not the person was mentally capable of engaging in moral thinking. One generally assumes that animals function on a different plane. They may have a rudimentary knowledge of good and poor results, but they lack a moral compass. The simplest explanation is that animals weren’t designed to perform these tasks. It runs counter to the way of life they’ve developed to ensure their own existence.
The implications for human beings
Naturally, this no longer holds true for human beings. The insanity defense emphasizes the distinction between criminal behavior motivated by malice and that of someone who genuinely cannot discern right from wrong.
When someone claims insanity, the issue isn’t whether or not they made the conscious decision to behave in an ethical manner. The ability to know right from wrong is what the law really looks at. A person who understands their actions are wrong but still defends them has no moral reasoning problems, as an example. That means they would still be found guilty.
Those who claim insanity as a defense are rarely just released from custody after being found not guilty. They are typically sent to a facility where they will be closely monitored and given the necessary care.
People sometimes have differing views on whether the accused individual had the ability for morality, on top of the fact that they don’t always agree on what is morally correct or bad in the first place. If a defendant can prove that they were legally insane at the time of the crime, the court may rule in their favor and declare them not guilty of the charges.