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Cause and effect essay topics: The insanity defense principle
The insanity defense derives from the assumption that mental health problems cause in the individual the decrease of awareness of their own actions. The terms of such defense can be found in the principles, developed by the trial judge for the jury for the certain case. The responsibility for the mental health testing is placed upon experts, but final determination is still assigned to the jury, who uses the protocols and reports, prepared by the commissions. The insanity defense therefore rests exceptionally on the jury, and the result of this scheme is the conflict between science and criminology.
Major thesis statements:
1) Competent experts- psychologists and mental health professionals - should have more influence on the insanity defense.
2) Juries are experienced and proficient enough to decide on the appropriate insanity defense.
3) Expert opinions might be conflicting, whereas court verdicts are supposed to have a single meaning, so insanity defense should be conducted by the juries.
Primary issues to discuss:
1) Explain in your own words the causes of the establishment of the insanity defense.
2) Should health experts get more entitlements during court trials? Can you foresee any positive results of this innovation?
3) Is insanity defense likely to lead to the discharge of really guilty people who were aware of their actions at the moment of crime?
1) Knappman, E. Great American Trials. Detroit, MI: Visible Ink Press, 1994.
2) Maeder, T. Crime and madness. NY: Harper and Row Publishers, 1985.
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