All those who have been accused of a crime have the right to defend themselves before facing sentencing. Therefore, if you have been accused of a crime and you are awaiting trial, it is important that you fully understand the options available to you. Take the time to gain a complete overview of the different defense options that could lessen or lead to the dismissal of the charges made against you.
One possible defense option available in certain circumstances is to claim insanity. The insanity defense is the act of claiming that mental illness led to the committal of a crime and that the person in question does not have full culpability for the crime. This defense is designed to protect the mentally ill from the full brunt of the legal system, however, it can be prone to abuse by those who want to cheat the system. This is why the federal Insanity Defense Reform Act of 1984 was put into place.
What is the Federal Insanity Defense Reform Act?
The Federal Insanity Defense Reform Act is a change to the general possibilities for a defendant to claim mental illness as a form of defense in trial. It states that a defendant must, at the time of the commission, be unable to understand to wrongfulness and the extent of the crime they committed. If they do understand the nature of their actions, mental disease or defect does not constitute a defense.
The insanity defense in Louisiana
In Louisiana, the "guilty but insane" verdict has been adopted. This means that in many cases, mentally ill defendants can be found to be criminally liable for their actions, regardless of their mental state. Even if they try to defend themselves through the insanity defense, they may still be subject to jail time. They may be required to receive psychiatric treatment while incarcerated or to be placed in a mental hospital until they are well enough to serve their prison sentence.
If you want to defend yourself against a crime by arguing that you were suffering from a mental illness, it is important that you fully understand the options available to you and the evidence required to uphold your defense.