Mind over Matter Checkpoint week Six PSY/270 – Abnormal Psychology Lisa A. Stamp December 1 1 th, 2013 Instructor: Pamela J. Reeves, MC/MFCT, CHT. Determining if an individual who has committed a heinous crime where the plea of insanity or sane was to be established, is a fine line. Labeling individuals who suffer from mental illness or disorders must be examined carefully and thoroughly. The truth in legality is that Just because a person does not know the difference between right and wrong does not mean that they are clinically insane.
Insanity can be seen as people who suffer from psychotic episodes, hallucinations, mental deficiencies, and even mental retardation. “In M’Naghten’s modern form, a defendant who pleads insanity must prove that at the time of the offense he or she was suffering from a mental disease or disability, such as retardation, so severely as not to know either “the nature and quality of the act” or whether it was right or wrong” (Gibeaut, J. (2006). If an individual cannot comprehend the crime they committed and the onsequences of their action, and who did not understand right from wrong, this would be the ideology of M’Naghten’s rule.
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Does Eric Michael Clark have the legal right to submit an insanity plea for his defense? Was the question of his diagnosis put to light in the courtroom? Was the question ever addressed if Eric was on any psychotropic drug when he committed this crime? Was he off his medication for his diagnosed mental disorder? So many elements were not brought up in this case for Eric to have the eligible legal right to plea insanity for his defense. In contrast, for a young man who was cruising the streets with radio at full volume and was then stop by a police officer doing his Job, what was the reason Eric fired more than five shots?
Was he experiencing a psychotic episode or did he feel threatened in any way? These facts have to be considered before an insanity defense can be submitted. From the past original rule to the rule presently, it has been cut legally in knowing the difference from right and wrong. Rational and guilty is a situation in where the criminal is aware of their actions and aware that it is wrong. Guilty but insane is where the criminal understands that their actions are wrong, but cannot control themselves and their actions because they suffer from a mental illness or disorder.
Guilty by reason of insanity is when the criminal is not guilty because they aren’t able to determine right from wrong. In my personal opinion regarding this case, Eric Michael Clark is guilty of killing officer Jeff Moritz with a reasonable plea of insanity. I feel that Eric was aware that his actions were wrong because he openly admitted it in he premeditation intent to kill the officer. Eric stated that after committing the crime that he would get rid of the evidence as a way of concealing his involvement in the murder.
When he purposely fled the crime scene, I felt that he knew his actions were wrong, but because of his mental illness he couldn’t handle facing the consequences. If I were the Judge or Jury determining the outcome of this case, I would recommend that Eric be admitted into a mental health facility that could help him with different herapies in acknowledging the crime he committed, the people that were affected, and the reasons why he did it, as well as getting him the proper treatment for his mental disorder.
This includes psychosocial therapies and drug therapies that will help him to maintain a balanced state of mental health. My recommendation is based on the age of the defendant and his environmental situation prior to him committing the crime. I feel he is guilty, but has the components of a person suffering from insanity because of his mental illness.