Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity

The difference between mental illness and insanity is in knowing right from wrong; a person who is insane has such a distorted perception of reality that it may not be possible to distinguish what is wrong or right. The McNaughten rule cannot be used to defend a person who voluntarily consumed a substance that led to murder because consuming the substance is a matter of personal choice; on the other hand, those with mental illnesses or insanity do not choose it.

A verdict of rational and guilty means that the perpetrator was completely aware of the consequences of their actions during the time of the act; therefore he or she is held responsible for their criminal behavior. The verdict of guilty but insane acknowledges that the perpetrator must be insane to murder another person but establishes he or she knew wrong from right at the time of the murder, at least enough to know to run and hide from authorities; therefore, he or she is responsible for their behavior and found guilty. The verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity establishes that a perpetrators perception of reality was so distorted during the time of the murder and currently that he or she cannot be held reasonably accountable.

Considering that Clarks’ parents have witnesses to collaborate the evidence that they met with a lawyer about committing him against his will just prior to the day of the shooting, I would have to assume that the societal stigma on the clinically insane did in fact delay the parents choice to seek out help, which they figured most probably would tag Clark with this label as their realization of his odd behaviors became more and more apparent as a problem. No one wants to admit that their offspring may not be so “right in the head.” Judging from the seriousness in the parents’ approach to address their son’s behavior, I am inclined to believe that his mental state must be considered serious as well. Delusional hallucinations can appear and disappear at random as the brain’s sensory registers are taking in ever-changing sensory data from the various external environments during daily experiences. This is a clear cut case of not guilty by reason of insanity.


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