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Current Application of the Insanity Defense

After the Hinkley verdict, majority of states shifted the burden of proof with an insanity defense from the state to the defendant. The states ensure that defendant found not guilty by reason of insanity would be required to stay in a mental hospital for a certain period of time for evaluation following acquittal.  The Federal Insanity Defense Reform Act eliminated the Irresistible Impulse Test from the insanity defense under federal law.  The states adopted “guilty but mentally ill” verdicts which allow mentally ill defendants to be found criminally liable and requires them to receive psychiatric treatment while incarcerated, or, instead, to be placed in a mental hospital and after recovery, to be moved to a prison to serve their sentences.

Inside Current Application of the Insanity Defense