9 Law & Psychol. Rev. 77 (1985)
Insanity Defenses: From the Jurors' Perspective

handle is hein.journals/lpsyr9 and id is 79 raw text is: Insanity Defenses: From the Jurors' Perspective
Norman J. Finkel*, Ray Shaw**, Susan Bercawt
and Juliann Kochtt
The historical debate regarding insanity defenses, a debate which
has been rekindled and inflamed in the current smolderings of Hinck-
ley, has long been marked by contention, confusion, and change.' When
Judge Tracy formulated the wild beast test of insanity in Rex v.
Arnold in 1723, this British judge was following Lord Coke's line of
reasoning.2 Under this test, a man would be relieved of criminal respon-
sibility if he doth not know what he is doing, no more than ... a
wild beast.3 Lord Coke's position of total insanity was not by any
means the last word. Lord Hale acknowledged that partial insanity,
existed though he was careful not to excuse it.' A Scottish contem-
porary of Hale's, Sir George MacKenzie went even further when he
argued, by the rule of proportion, that partial insanity should lessen
the punishment.5
While the wild beast test survived more than 100 years of legal
stalking, its reign was by no means peaceful. When James Hadfield
fired his pistol at King George III and missed, his legal counsel, the
brilliant Lord Erskine, hit the mark when he called the notion of total
insanity an illusion and argued that a person could be absolutely mad
for a day.6 Hadfield was acquitted and the wild beast staggered.
Then came M'Naghten's case.8 M'Naughten's shot, which was
* Assistant Professor of Psychology and Director of Graduate Program,
Georgetown University; Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, University of Rochester; B.A.,
New York University.
** Ph.D. candidate in Psychology, University of Toronto; B.S., Georgetown
University.
t B.S., Georgetown University.
tt M.S. in Physiology, Georgetown University; B.S., Georgetown University.
1. See generally N. FINKEL, THERAPY AND ETHIcS: THE COURTSHIP OF LAW AND
PSYCHOLOGY (1980).
2. 16 How. St. Tr. 684 (1723).
3. Id. at 764.
4. N. WALKER, CRIME AND INSANITY IN ENGLAND 140 (1968).
5. Id.
6. Hadfield's Case, 27 How. St. Tr. 1281 (1800).
7. Id.
8. 10 Cl. & Fin. 200, 8 Eng. Rep. 718 (1843).

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