COMMENT: A NEW APPROACH TO INSANITY ACQUITTEE RECIDIVISM: REDEFINING THE CLASS OF TRULY RESPONSIBLE RECIDIVISTS Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 2005 The Trustees of The University of Pennsylvania 
University of Pennsylvania Law Review

COMMENT: A NEW APPROACH TO INSANITY ACQUITTEE RECIDIVISM: REDEFINING THE CLASS OF TRULY RESPONSIBLE RECIDIVISTS

December, 2005

University of Pennsylvania Law Review

154 U. Pa. L. Rev. 399

Author

Maura Caffrey+

Excerpt



Introduction
 
After receiving verdicts of not guilty by reason of insanity, John McGee and Ronald Manlen were committed to Michigan mental hospitals. 1 The center for forensic psychiatry later determined that McGee and Manlen were "no longer mentally ill and dangerous" and released them. 2 Shortly after being released, McGee kicked his wife to death 3 and Manlen raped two women. 4

The public outcry that followed these tragic events prompted the Michigan legislature to statutorily authorize the "guilty but mentally ill" (GBMI) verdict in cases where a defendant raises the insanity defense. 5 The verdict permits the jury to find that although the defendant is mentally ill, she is not legally insane, and she may be given a full criminal sentence. A defendant who receives a GBMI verdict must receive appropriate psychiatric treatment while imprisoned. 6

Several other states, faced with similar high-profile crimes committed by released insanity acquittees, also adopted the GBMI verdict. 7 Some state legislatures considered the complete abolition of the insanity defense, 8 while others heightened the requirements for release from post-insanity acquittal commitment (PIAC) 9 or implemented conditional release programs. 10

This Comment evaluates the current methods employed by states to cope with insanity acquittee recidivists and proposes a new solution that strikes a balance between rehabilitating insane offenders and protecting the public from dangerous acquittees. Part I evaluates the basic problem of insanity acquittee recidivism and explores the roles played by inaccurate release decisions and ...
 
 
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