State of insanity chat rooms
A finding of incompetence merely signals a hiatus in the criminal proceedings.In the majority of cases, a mentally ill defendant deemed incompetent receives treatment until he is deemed "restored to competence," and returns to court. Supreme Court ruled that such institutionalization was unconstitutional, and that defendants deemed incompetent may not be held for a longer period than is reasonable to determine whether they will be able to attain competence in the foreseeable future.About half of the cases had been indicted for violent crimes; fifteen percent were murder cases.• What happens in states where there is no insanity defense?
They say that the GBMI verdict protects the public because mentally ill defendants won't be released if they are deemed no longer dangerous, as would a defendant who was acquitted by reason of insanity.
On the other hand, they say, mentally ill defendants are guaranteed to receive the treatment they need, and suicides like Ralph Tortorici's would happen less often.
Critics, including the American Psychiatric Association, claim that the GBMI verdict takes away the hard choices that juries and judges are supposed to make: "While the 'guilty but mentally ill' category may seem to make juries' jobs easier, it compromises one of our criminal system's most important functions -- deciding, through its deliberations, how society defines responsibility.
The insanity defense has nothing to do with a defendant's current mental status; to be found not guilty by reason of insanity, a judge or jury must evaluate the defendant's state of mind at the time of the offense.
• What happens when a defendant is found incompetent to stand trial?