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Legal Insanity in Criminology

A 45-year-old man has been referred to my facility by a judge. I have been asked to assess if the client satisfies the definition of legal insanity. The suspect was arrested for an attempted bank robbery. After analyzing his medical records, I realized that he had a history of schizophrenia. The patient had been released from prison in the last few months. He had been jailed for 15 years for murdering his father. I am required to evaluate if the patient was sane when he committed the bank robbery attempt. I am also required to assess if the defendant is fit for trial.

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In America, defendants are said to be legally insane if they suffer from cognitive disorder or lack the capabilities to abstain from criminal behaviors. Defendants established to be lawfully crazy are not imprisoned for charges linked with particular psychological disorder or disability (Greene & Wrightsman, 2013). It must be proved in court that the respondent in the case study is suffering from a mental disability for him to be treated as legally insane (Arnold, Quinsey, & Velner, 1977). Based on the eyewitness and police’s accounts, it is apparent that the suspect was legally insane when he committed the crime. As such, when the teller offered the money he had requested for he did not pick them. Similarly, when he was arrested, he claimed to be a king and that he had been waiting to be given 250 million dollars by unnamed individuals. In jail, he had been diagnosed with schizophrenia. Based on the above illustrations it is apparent that the defendant was suffering from a mental disorder and lacked the capability to abstain from criminal behavior at the time he committed the offense.

With respect to his trial competency, I believe the suspect is fit to stand hearing. A defendant can stand trial if he can comprehend and sensibly contribute to a court procedure (Greene & Wrightsman, 2013). The suspect could be unfit to stand trial if he displayed absurd behavior, bizarre conduct at trial, and any preceding clinical condition on competence to stand trial. Although the patient had been diagnosed with schizophrenia after he was arrested, it should be noted that he had been given medication and a physician had stated that his condition had improved. Therefore, he is fit to stand trial because he comprehends the court’ procedures, the accusations against him, and the consequences if found guilty (Jackson, 2008). He has also shown some understanding of the judicial process and the roles of those who participate in it (Greene & Wrightsman, 2013). Besides, the defendant has also demonstrated that he can propose a legal plan and recount relevant details and proceedings prior and after the offense.

To justify that the suspect is legally insane two tools can be used (Greene & Wrightsman, 2013). They are interviews and The MacArthur Competency Assessment Tool. Interviews will be very helpful because they will evaluate the suspect’s competency to stand trial and his mental disability. In the interview process, I am required to ask him precise queries, which explore his competency-related capabilities (Greene & Wrightsman, 2013). The questions should focus on several relevant areas. The MacArthur Competency Assessment Tool will aid in gauging the defendant’s decisional aptitude and factual understanding (Otto, Edens, Monahan, & Bonnie, 1998). The instruments will also review possible malingering and case-specific evidence.

References

Arnold, L., Quinsey, V., & Velner, I. (1977). Overcontrolled hostility among men found not guilty by reason of insanity. Canadian Journal Of Behavioural Science/Revue Canadienne Des Sciences Du Comportement, 9(4), 333-340.

Greene, E., & Wrightsman, L. (2013). Wrightsman’s psychology and the legal system(8th ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson/ Wadsworth.

Jackson, R. (2008). Learning forensic assessment. New York: Routledge.

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Otto, R., Edens, J., Monahan, J., & Bonnie, R. (1998). Psychometric properties of the MacArthur Competence Assessment Tool-Criminal Adjudication. Psychological Assessment, 10(4), 435-443.

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