Historical Influence On Current Criminal Law Essay

Length: 4 pages Subject: Business - Law Type: Essay Paper: #55272342 Related Topics: Insanity Defense, Commercial Law, Synthesis, Common Law

Excerpt from Essay :

¶ … criminal justice. Each question must be 300 words long. Identify the requirements for the insanity plea in your jurisdiction and contrast this with the M'Naghten standard, the Brawner standard, ALI standard, and the Durham rule. Identify similarities and differences. Support you response with examples from your research and reading assignment.

In the 1843 case of the United Kingdom House of Lords Decisions of Daniel M'Naghten's, the court determined that an insanity plea to would hinge on whether the defendant knew what he was doing, or, if he did know what he was doing, did he know that it was wrong. In 1972,the U.S. v. Brawner case in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals determined not to involve the jury in the determination of the defendant's mental state. This decision was grounded in the ALI test of a Model Penal Code. The Brawner rule overturned the Durham Rule, which was overly broad and was based on what the appellate judge of this case considered "an entirely obsolete and misleading conception of the nature of insanity." The Durham rule states, "that an accused is not criminally responsible if his unlawful act was the product of mental disease or mental defect."

The ALI test-based decisions about insanity on this standard:

"A person is not responsible for criminal conduct if at the time of the such conduct as a result of mental disease or defect he lacks substantial capacity either to appreciate the criminality [wrongfulness] of his conduct or to conform his conduct to the requirements of law." (American Law Institute, 1985, Sec. 4.01)

The ALI test required consideration of the "substantial capacity" of an accused person, and in this way covered ground that the M'Naghten rule disregarded. The phrase "to conform his conduct to the requirements of law" keeps central the idea of the accused being able to differentiate from right and wrong, but also adds their capacity for abiding or failing to abide by the law, and this conforms to the irresistible impulse test. Following the ALI test, more stringent rules were developed which held that people with some mental disorders were still functional and could make clear judgments about their behavior.

6) As discussed, there are several different types of competency, such as competency to stand trial, but also competency to waive right to counsel, competency to confess and even competency to be executed. Several noteworthy cases regarding competency to be executed include the Ford case, Panetti case in Texas and the case of John Ferguson in Florida. Discuss the proposed rationale that someone must be competent to be executed and what this form of competency entails. Provide your informed opinion on whether you think someone should be treated and brought to competency in order to be executed.

The idea of a defendant's competence is present in consideration of their ability to reason sufficiently to identify relevant facts in their defense and to organize their representation of those relevant facts into a coherent whole that enables them to articulate a defense. From this base, the construct of competence is carried over to an understanding of the legal proceedings, the relation of the legal proceedings to their own individual case. Specifically, the court desires to ensure that the defendant is competent to secure or waive right to counsel, to understand the ramifications of confessing and pleading guilty, to stand trial, and execution. These constructs protect both the individual and the criminal justice system.

With the Ford vs. Wainwright case, the courts discarded the notion that a defendant must have the capacity to assist counsel and articulate a defense. The rationale for this decision is that many procedural protections and opportunities to appeal in capital cases currently exist. The standard now holds that a mentally ill defendant must only comprehend the what the impending execution means, understand the relationship between their own capital offense and the punishment. That is to say, the defendant must have the "capacity to experience retribution" (Seeds, 2009). Subsequent analyses of Justice Powell's concurring opinion, in fact, do not substantiate the occasion of rule making. Seeds argues, "Powell's concurrence is best read, instead, as one Justice's argument for what the substantive standard should be, not as binding precedent" (2009, p. 312). The common law idea of competency assumes that it is inhumane to put to death a person who is not capable of appealing to the mercy of the society that bring execution. A defendant -- regardless of mental status -- must be competent to show that a sentence is unlawful and that it is unjust. No assumption should be make that either direct or collateral review of the facts relating to a defendant's conviction can replace this capacity that rightfully belongs to the defendant under the Bill of Rights and the...


Capacity must be a consideration for any person accused of a crime, and most assuredly must be a consideration for a person facing execution. As per the ABA Criminal Justice Mental Health Standards §7-5.6(b) (1989), a convicted person must understand the legal proceedings and must be able to recognize any facts that would make punishment unjust or unlawful, and must be able to communicate the same. Seeds, C.W. (2009). The afterlife of Ford and Panetti: Execution competence and the capacity to assist counsel. Cornell Law Faculty Publications, Paper 74, 309-348). Retrieved http://scholarship.law.cornell.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1073&context=facpub&seiredir=1&referer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bing.com%2Fsearch%3Fq%3DCornell%2Blaw%2Bschool%2Bcompetency%2Bto%2Bexecute%26qs%3Dn%26form%3DQBLH%26filt%3Dall%26pq%3Dcornell%2Blaw%2Bschool%2Bcompetency%2Bto%2Bexecute%26sc%3D0-22%26sp%3D-1%26sk%3D%26cvid%3D02385acab1a2413e9ddbd7610f536a6e#search=%22Cornell%20law%20school%20competency%20execute%22

7) States now have mandatory reporting laws for certain professionals. These laws are very specific on who must report, how soon they must report and what information is to be provided. Please research the mandatory reporting laws in your jurisdiction and include these laws in your report. These laws can include reporting laws on child neglect and abuse as well as elder abuse, etc. Please do not simply cut and paste the laws from the Internet but rather discuss the reporting requirements for the different professions. When responding to your classmates' posts, note similarities and differences.

All 50 states and the District of Columbia have mandatory elder abuse on the books as a criminal offense. In addition, 48 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands all have regulations that designate professions and professional roles that are mandated by law to report the abuse, neglect, or maltreatment of children. As of November 2013, only New Jersey and Wyoming had not passed laws to this effect, instead these states have opted to enact laws that require all persons to report.

My state has specific laws about reporting of elder abuse and child abuse to state social service agencies or to law enforcement officials in order for investigation and potential prosecution to proceed. Mandatory reporting positions include: Social workers; teachers, principal, and other school personnel; physicians, nurses, and other health care workers; counselors, therapists, and other mental health professionals; child care providers; medical examiners or coroners; and law enforcement officers. In various states, people in these occupations are also required to report: commercial film or photograph processors, computer technicians, substance abuse counselors, probation or parole officers, recreational facilities employees and volunteers, humane and animal control officers, court appointed special advocates, clergy, and domestic violence workers. Many institutions have specific reporting requirements.

8) Directions: Please look at the course objectives below and comment on how the course has met/or did not meet these objectives for you.

1. Apply knowledge of the roles a psychologist plays in correctional settings, identifying the challenges to service delivery that are particular to these settings.

As a result of taking this course, I have a greater appreciation for the challenges that psychologists face in correctional settings. One aspect of this work that is more salient for me now is the extent to which the work of psychologists is collaborative. To casual observers, a psychologist may seem to be an individual contributor whose services are akin to those of a firefighter: Arrive at a crucial time, apply a unique skill set, exit and write the report. However, since the work of psychologists in correctional settings is knowledge work, it entails a comprehensive understanding of the clinical or behavioral history, awareness of interventions (if any) that have been implemented, and forward looking options for the individual. At the same time, a psychologist working in correctional settings must ground his work in the law.

2. Integrate knowledge of mental health diagnoses and assessment instruments with the kind of decisions a psychologist has to make in determining the needed level of services for individuals involved with the criminal justice system.

From the readings and discussions, I learned about revisions to the laws about assessments and diagnoses, which indicate that regulations are catching up to practice. That is to say, the increase in the obligation of judges to function as gatekeepers with respect to both scientific testimony and expert opinion testimony illustrates the courts' awareness of how easily this type of evidence can be skewed to be advantageous to argument in a case, eroding the connection to the actual science of psychology; some individuals create…

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