General Question

luigirovatti's avatar

Why was "dissociative identity disorder" NOT recognized as a mental disorder that could excuse criminal responsibility?

Asked by luigirovatti (2093points) 1 month ago

I did some research and it’s clearly the case the courts have rejected the admissibility of DID evidence. Especially since State v Milligan (1978). Especially in the UK, for insanity defense at least. Occasionally in the USA this defense has been succesful. But that’s just that. Occasionally. I mean, we’re in 2020 and we still don’t recognize DID as a defense for criminal defense? That’s outrageous!

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4 Answers

Zaku's avatar

I’d have to know a lot more about DID before I’d feel I could say much about this.

However it occurs to me that non-disorder-level dissociation is extremely common, and is very common as an ego defense mechanism to avoid facing the many perpetrations people inflict upon each other.

And it seems to me also very common that dissociation may be a very common mechanism for coping and enabling perpetrations, AND that there might tend to be many people who develop dissociative disorders (again, I do not know the technical definitions or legal requirements) as a result of a saner choice to do something terrible to others.

Then there’s also the question of what society and lawmakers consider the purpose of the law and penal systems to be. In the USA, many people see the law’s role as punishing and locking up perpetrators, whereas in e.g. Norway it may be established that the goal is to heal and rehabilitate perpetrators.

Also, in the USA, the calendar may show 2020, but many people have such views as being pro-death-penalty; see convicts (or even suspects) as nearly non-humans who should be punished, confined and/or killed; and/or are fixated on the idea that criminals get off too lightly and easily too often based on what they feel are bad reasons (including insanity defenses, even though the actual results of an insanity ruling may end up being rather worse for convict than a guilty verdict would have been).

stanleybmanly's avatar

Why would you believe it outrageous? Psychological factors ALWAYS lag far behind advances in the field before their application to the laws or their admission in the courts.

LostInParadise's avatar

As I recall, insanity defense can be used if the person did not think their actions were harmful or if they did not think there was anything wrong with what they did. I don’t know how you could apply this to DID.

luigirovatti's avatar

@LostInParadise: How can the defendant decide these kinds of things if (s)he technically has a mental disorder? Even if it’s DID, (s)he could have other kinds of disorders.

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