General Question

LostInParadise's avatar

Does the insanity plea refer to the time that the crime was committed or to the time of sentencing?

Asked by LostInParadise (29285points) January 12th, 2021

Shouldn’t it have to apply to both? If a person was insane at the time of the crime then they should be let off, even if they now see that what they did was wrong. Alternatively, if the person committed the crime fully knowing it was wrong, but is now so delusional as to believe that it was proper or has lost memory of it, there does not seem to be any reason to convict.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

8 Answers

gorillapaws's avatar

I could be wrong, but it’s my understanding that insanity refers to the state of mind at the time of the offense. You also have to be declared competent to stand trial, which is a separate concept. You need to be able to understand what is happening in court and aid in your own defense to whatever extent possible.

SergeantQueen's avatar

Mindset during the crime.

SergeantQueen's avatar

I wonder how likely it is that they were of a stable mindset during the offense but aren’t after. Seems like a way to try and lie. Even if meds were changing their mood and they stopped taking them, they were still stable during it so that shouldn’t change anything

gorillapaws's avatar

@SergeantQueen They are different legal requirements. Insanity is about understanding right/wrong, and competency is about being able to understand the trial and charges. I’m pretty sure that if you’re not competent to stand trial, you are put in a mental facility until you are competent.

For example, if someone is severely mentally retarded, they may be able to understand that stabbing someone to death is wrong, but might not be able to understand the trial and help their lawyer in their defense. IANAL. This could all be inaccurate.

kritiper's avatar

At the time of the crime.

zenvelo's avatar

The discussion is about two separate evaluations:

1. Sanity at time of crime
2. Fitness to stand trial and aid in one’s own defense.

Not being convicted of a crime because of the first scenario means admitting to the crime but with a mitigating factor.

The second one means you don;t stand trial, and that guilt or innocence are not determined. Or, you have a great argument on appeal.

Neither instance means one walks free. One is generally held in a hospital for the criminally insane.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

_“non compos mentis“_applies to time on trial = = = > not mentally competent !

si3tech's avatar

At the time of the crime I believe. The time of sentencing is in future, having committed the crime prior.

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther