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PSYC 3310 Lecture Notes - Delusional Disorder, Acute Stress Reaction, Actus Reus

Course Code
PSYC 3310
Gwen Jenkins

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Expert eyewitness testimony = testimony from an expert re: fallibility of fact witness's testimony
Eyewitness testimony (fact witness) = someone who saw/heard or was included in a criminal activity
Criminal Responsibility and Competency to Stand Trial
2001: Filled bathtub and drowned five children, ages 7, 5, 3, 2, and 6 months-- killed one by one
Husband: "If she received the medical treatment she deserved, then the kids would be alive and well"
Trial 1: Guilty of murder
Had been prescribed Zoloft and Haldol after birth of youngest child, stopped taking Haldol
because of side-effects
Andrea Yates
Insanity (aka "madness") is a legal, not a psych/medical term
Aristotle (~320 BC) Free will/volition essential for determination of blame
Reflects intent/volition/free will
Mens rea = guilty mind
Actus reus = criminal act
AD 230: Mentally ill excused because of absence of mens rea-- already punished by mental
Still no real insight into what constitutes madness
Statute of De Prerogative Regis -- King obliged to house & feed idiots (born mentally
retarded) and lunatics (mental illness)
By 1326 England, madness was as absolute defense
First formal legal definition of insanity [ON TEST]
Acquittal of mentally ill based on lack of understanding of actions, "no more than an
infant, than a brute, or a wild beast" (R. v. Arnold, 1724)
Alternatively, a lack of understanding applies to a person with understanding less than a
14-year-old child (Lord Hale, English jurist)
Focus on cognitive awareness (understanding [of one's actions])
18th Century: "Wild Beast" standard
What is included under the "madness" umbrella?
Evolution of Insanity Defense
Became known as "not guilty by reason of insanity" (NGRI) verdict
Focus on mental illness but no formal definition [of what a mental illness is]
NGRI verdict = confinement in prison or mental hospital for remainder of life
Acquittal resulted in Criminal Lunatics Act
Not changed until 1992 in Canada
"We find the prisoner is not guilty; he being under the influence of insanity at the time the act
was committed."
1800: James Hadfield charged with high treason for attempting to shoot King George III
Hadfield & NGRI Verdict
Ch. 9: Criminal Responsibility
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
1:00 PM
Class Notes - Midterm Page 1

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Not changed until 1992 in Canada
Paranoid delusions-- thought government was plotting to kill him
Attempted to assassinate Sir Robert Peel, Prime Minister-- killed private secretary by mistake
Found NGRI, placed in mental institution until death 20 years later
"A person is presumed sane unless it can be clearly proven that, at the time of the committing
of the act"…
The accused was mentally ill,
The accused did not know what they were doing (e.g., delusional),
'Knowing' elements of M'Naghten standard referred to as "Cognitive Test of Insanity"
Criticized because of tough standard of absence of capacity for 'knowing/understanding'
The accused did not know what they did was (legally) wrong.
Public outcry-- no real punishment for insane-- resulted in M'Naghten Standard (aka MacNaughton)
R. v. M'Naghten (1843) [ON TEST]
Inability to control behavior/choose between right and wrong
Problem: no way to determine if accused was able to control behavior
Irresistible Impulse Test-- change of focus from cognition to volition [wanting to do it]
Problem: Assumes all behavior of mentally ill is caused by mental illness-- other factors
contribute to behavior
Accused not responsible if behavior was product of mental disease or defect
Durham Rule (Durham v. United States, 1954)
...lacked substantial capacity either to appreciate wrongfulness of conduct, or to conform
conduct to requirement of the law (because of mental disease/defect)
Mental disease/defect does not include abnormality manifested by repeated criminal or
anti-social behavior
Person not responsible for criminal conduct if…
Incorporated volitional basis for insanity defense-- again, impossible to assess
"Substantial capacity" differed from absolute requirement of M'Naghten-- perceived to be
free pass for mild mental illness
American Law Institute (ALI) Standard
Removed 'volitional' & 'substantial' aspects of ALI Standard-- largely same as M'Naghten
Focus on knowing right from wrong (i.e., cognitive) because of severe mental illness
1984: Insanity Defense Reform Act (IDRA)-- following Hinckley Case
US Alternative to M'Naghten
Alternative to NGRI verdict
Holds accused responsible while recognizing mental illness
Typically for those not severely mentally ill
Given psychiatric treatment, then serve sentence
(Textbook refers to this as GMBI, should be GBMI)
Guilty But Mentally Ill (GBMI)
Burden of proof varies from state to state [in the US]
Most common used in M'Naghten Rule (with or without supplements, e.g., IRI, GBMI)
Which Standards are used Where?
Class Notes - Midterm Page 2
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