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The Insanity Defense


A criminal defense attorney can raise several defenses to fight the charges against their client. Among the defenses that an attorney can raise during trial is the insanity defense. This defense has gotten a lot of attention over the years. However, the insanity defense has not gotten a lot of attention because of how effective it is. Instead, it has gotten a lot of attention because it has been involved in high-profile criminal cases. The insanity defense has also been featured in several movies and TV legal dramas. The truth is that the insanity defense is complicated and often does not succeed as a defense in criminal cases. And in cases where it succeeds, the defendant may end up spending more time in a secure mental hospital than they would have spent in prison had they been convicted. Some states don’t even allow the use of the insanity defense. However, Kentucky is not one of these states.

What Does It Mean When a Defense Attorney Raises the Insanity Defense?

The insanity defense is a type of affirmative defense. This means that when an attorney raises this defense, they are admitting that their client committed the criminal act but are seeking to excuse their client’s behavior by reason of insanity. When an attorney raises this defense, they are arguing that due to their client’s mental state at the time they committed the crime, their client shouldn’t be held legally accountable.

If a criminal defense attorney raises the insanity defense, they, the prosecution, or the court can request a psychological evaluation to evaluate the defendant’s criminal liability. The standard for assessing whether a criminal defendant is legally insane may vary depending on the jurisdiction.

Standards Used To Assess Whether a Defendant Is Legally Insane

Kentucky uses the Model Penal Code Test (MPC test) to determine if a criminal defendant is legally insane and, therefore, not liable for a criminal offense. Under the MPC test, a defendant is not legally accountable for their actions if they have a relevant mental defect or illness and when they were committing the crime;

  • they were unable to appreciate the criminal nature of their conduct, or
  • conform their behavior to what is required by law.

Other tests that can be used to determine whether a defendant is legally insane include the M’Naghten rule and Irresistible Impulse Test. According to the M’Naghten rule, a defendant is not guilty by reason of insanity if they have a mental defect or illness that makes it impossible for them to differentiate right from wrong. On the other hand, according to the Irresistible Impulse Test, a defendant is not legally liable for their actions if they were subject to the coercion of a mental defect or illness that the ability to choose between right or wrong was destroyed. The MPC test is much broader than these two other tests.

Contact a London Criminal Defense Attorney

At Cessna & George Law Firm, we will assess your case and its specifics to determine the strongest defense strategy possible. Contact our skilled and dedicated London criminal defense attorneys today to schedule a consultation and discuss your case.

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