Does Pleading Insanity Work?
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Does Pleading Insanity Work?

October 11, 2019


“It’s crazy to plead insanity” says
law professor Dr. Charles Ewing. The plea rarely works. And yet, some of the most famous
mass murderers have attempted it. Just this month, Eddie Ray Routh, the killer of ‘American
Sniper’, Chris Kyle, was deemed sane by the jury, despite his insanity plea, and convicted
of murder. So why is it so hard to prove insanity? First of all, pleading insanity means that
you admit to the crime itself, but you’re not responsible – because you’re insane.
Also, you should not be put in prison or sentenced to death. The problem is, that it’s hard to prove
insanity. In most US courts, the burden of proof is on the accused. A defendant must
prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he or she was SO mentally ill, they didn’t know
right from wrong during the crime. In the Routh case, during the closing argument, the
prosecution highlighted the fact that Routh DID have enough mental capacity after the
murder to order a burrito at a fast food restaurant. If he was insane, according to the prosecution,
this food-trip would be unlikely. Another reason the insanity plea usually doesn’t
work, according to several lawyers, is that jurors are hesitant to acquit people who have
committed horrible crimes. The insanity plea, at its basic level, is a plea of innocence.
People often feel that someone who knowingly commits murder deserves to be convicted, and
that the insanity plea is an “easy way out”. Routh confessed to committing murder, yet
pleaded insanity.Despite a history of schizophrenia and PTSD, the jury convicted him. Similarly,
in May 2014, David Tarloff, also tried the insanity plea, after he brutally killed his
psychologist. He, too, suffered from schizophrenia, necessitating several hospital stays. But
again, the jury found him sane and guilty. A 1995 report from “The American Academy
of Psychiatry and the Law” says that on average, insanity pleas are raised in less
than 1% of criminal trials. And only about a quarter of those pleas are successful. Often, the media frenzies over famous murderers
who plead insanity – like Ted Bundy. And that creates the false idea that insanity pleas
are common, and that they work. Many criminals do have severe mental health issues, and there
are many ways of criminally processing them. But for the majority of cases, in the United
States, the insanity plea doesn’t work out. Our new network Seeker has officially launched
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  1. Any who has convicted murder, for whatever reason, should be sent to jail.
    And jails shouldn't be a depressive place, they are meant to isolate criminals from society and help in their recovery if they need it.

  2. How strong is Egypt …… I have been asking long time ago guys .. love your channel .. thank you .. I hope you read my comment .

  3. Sending children to adult prisons, live in prison sentences, executing mentally ill people…Well the US legal system in FUBAR.

  4. Wait a minute… wouldn't pleading your own insanity be a tip off that you're indeed sane? The truly insane don't know they're insane.

  5. I wonder how much the prison industry has an effect on how often people get convicted despite clear evidence of insanity.

  6. I like how his video doesn't even mention that he mentally ill are not dangerous people. You just completely ignored that mentally ill people are more a threat to themselves than to anyone around them.

  7. The insanity plea never made sense to me, because even if you're given life in prison, you have the chance of parole one day. If you're deemed insane, you're put in an institution and those places don't have to let you out. So yeah, you don't go to jail. You just spend the rest of your life in a place surrounded by people with serious mental illnesses.

  8. If all you had to do is successfully order a burrito in order to lose your case when pleading insanity, then our legal code must be pretty weird.

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  10. A Taiwanese court has sentenced to death a man for killing four people and injuring 22 others in a knife attack in the Taipei underground last May. 21-year old Cheng Chieh used a long fruit knife to attack passengers during a Metro ride before he was overpowered. He had pleaded guilty to murder and attempted murder charges, while prosecutors had ruled out insanity and said Cheng had harboured a desire to kill since childhood. 
    Taiwan executes those on death row by firing squad.

  11. Personally, I support insanity pleas when they are justified. Severely mentally ill people often have less control over their actions, so in my mind are less morally responsible. They should be treated in a high security mental institution until psychologists deem them safe for society. Rehabilitation beats vengeance any day.

    I know some people prefer to think in terms of 'they deserve to be punished for what they did!' but personally I think that's just vindictive.

  12. I blame batman for the people thinking insanity plea works. Just look at all the villains locked in arkham

  13. Middle Eastern person kills civilians in America = Terrorists, Savage

    American kills civilians in the Middle East = a Real American Hero, Patriot

  14. Kris Kyle would probably be locked up in the future for war crimes so Eddie probably did him a favor. Remember how old men were jailed decades after the war crimes they committed during the Holocaust? 

    Same thing will happen here. America won't always be the only superpower. Eventually the rest of the world will rise up and jail or execute the Bush/Cheney administration for their war crimes along with many military officials. 

  15. Hold up, so Routh staight up murdered two guys in cold blood and then IMMEDIATELY went and ordered a burrito and this indicated to the the jury that he WASN'T insane?

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  17. Of course it works, brain dead liberals will argue all day that these sick fucks are just not "in control" and rather blame society than the actual issue. Don't believe me? Check the Aurora theater shooting, that shit head knew exactly what he was doing was wrong. The main reason he got away with blood on his hands is because the liberal sheep's argued "blame society, this man should of got the mental care he needed but we were to blind to see it". So basically, a person can cause a massacre of 20 people and come out with little to no severe punishment by pleading mentality ill. Sad times we live in indeed.

  18. Catch 22: If you plead insanity, then you are considered sane, as only a sane person would want to avoid going to jail by this method. If you don't plead insanity, then you go to jail anyway 🙂

    Q: what happens if a lawyer pleads insanity for you?
    A: I don't know about the US, but in Poland a lawyer can only perform actions that his client agrees to. Therefore, telling the lawyer to plead insanity and attempt to disagree with him in court makes your sanity doubleplusgood.

  19. In the UK (I'm not really sure about the US but I'm sure it works the same way), in order to plead insanity, your disease of the mind must make the defendant does not know the quality and nature of his act or he does not know that he is doing wrong. If the defendant is well aware that he is doing wrong, therefore insanity cannot be used and this happened in old case called R v Windel.

  20. Under Commom Law, the affirmative defense of not quilty by reason of sanity became the standard, for the most part, in the Crown v. M'Naughten. The accused, M'Naughten, mistakenly murdered a high ranking Member of the Cabinet during his assassination attempt against England's Prime Minister.
    M'Naughen's guilt was all but guaranteed, since the killing was witnessed by dozens of people, he was arrested at the scene of the killing, and the revolver, the instrumentality of death, was removed from his hand during his arrest.
    Nevertheless, he was found not quilty by reason of insanity based on his obvious mental illness (probably paranoid schizophrenia) and, more importantly, at the time of the crime, he lacked the ability to know the difference between right and wrong; and, therefore, he was incapable of forming the necessary intent.
    To this day, this is known as the M'Naughten Rule and while the Austrian psychiatrist, Sigmund Freud as well as the the Russian physiologist, Pavlov, discovered that the unconscious controls all thought and behavior; and, therefore, free will is an illusion, this very high standard for a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity or mental defect, remains.
    BTW, most criminal statutes demand, at least, general intent, while the murder statutes require malice and the intent to kill. In addition, felony murder and the transfer of intent are usually charged as 1st or 2nd degree murder.
    M'Naghten was surplanted by several less stringent standards, most notably, the Durham Rule, but most American jurisdictions use wording similar to M'Naughten.
    Thus, the affirmative defense of not guilty by reason of insanity is the exception that makes the rule. If you are mentally ill and you could not form intent, at the time of the killing, you are not guilty by reason of insanity. Of course, this high standard of proof makes this defense rare. Only 1% of all criminal defendants raise it. Of those, less than 50% are found not guilty by reason of insanity.
    The above is a thumbnail sketch of the M'Naughton Rule and does not cover a mass of law regarding the crime of murder and M'Naughton.

  21. There is also Jury Nullification:
    The Jury accepts that you are insane but hand down a guilty verdict, as they want you off the streets regardless.

  22. I do not CARE if you did not know what was right or wrong at the time of the killing, you can move and act on your own despite your so called mental illness, what makes us think that you WON"T do this shit again? There will be no mercy when you willingly took lives for the sheer thrill of it, your just lucky we don't torture our prisoners before the painless death penalty.

  23. how about instead of a jury deciding whether a criminal is insane how about a group of doctors and psychiatrists deal with it

  24. The thing that bothers me with insanity defenses is simply that just because someone is insane doesn't necessarily mean they're stupid, incompetent or don't know or understand what they're doing is wrong or that their actions are not intentional. Some may very well know what's good and what's bad. They just may not care, insane or not. If it's a person who very mentally damaged/impaired, that's one thing.

  25. Insanity is a joke…..people know right from wrong – it’s not like you ever see them donating their life savings to charity or doing other “right” things then making the plea

  26. Sane people can fire the lawyer, Insane people have to keep paying the lawyer even if they want to fire them.

  27. People abuse the insanity defense. These people knew exactly what they were doing when they did these crimes. If you knew what you were doing was wrong while it was being done, you're not insane.

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