Richard Bonnie

Debate: Should the Insanity Defense Be Abolished?

CO-AUTHORS Norval Morris
PUBLISHER
Journal of Law & Health
DATE
1986 to 1987
 

Abstract

Both debaters agree that the insanity defense does not encompass all offenders who are mentally ill and that current procedures for dealing with persons acquitted by reason of insanity and convicted mentally ill offenders are inadequate. They disagree, however, on the sufficiency of traditional mens rea principles for determining criminal culpability under conditions of mental illness. Bonnie does not believe that mens rea principles sufficiently distinguish criminal from noncriminal actions under conditions of mental illness. Norris believes mental illness is as irrelevant to determining criminal responsibility as are other biological and social factors that may determine a person's behavior. This article not only presents the stated positions of the debaters but also their questions and answers to one another. 8 footnotes.

Citation

Richard J. Bonnie & Norval Morris, Debate: Should the Insanity Defense Be Abolished?, 1 Journal of Law & Health 117-140 (1986).
 

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