Insanity defense questioned
Using insanity as a defense should no longer be allowed because the mentally ill don’t need special defenses, according to Professor Christopher Slobogin in a November article in the Virginia Law Review. “I’m proposing that we get rid of the special defense of insanity and instead apply to the mentally ill the same defenses we apply to others, defined in terms of what the offender actually thinks was happening during the offense,” said Slobogin. “Defined that way, the general defenses, like self-defense and lack of intent, sufficiently recognize the exculpatory effect of mental illness.” A news release discussing Slobogin’s views and the law review article was distributed nationally, and media representatives have contacted him for details and comments. The Gainesvile Sun and local broadcast media published stories on the issue early last week.