Capital Punishment and the Death Row Inmate

Capital Punishment and the Death Row Inmate (Significant Case)

For this assignment complete an essay detailing the significance of the case assigned (not a brief, but an essay). Include why the offender was arrested and a brief description of there journey through the criminal justice system. Most significantly, include what effects this case has had on the criminal justice system, if any.

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“Insanity” is a legal term, not a medical diagnosis. The term “incompetency” is also sometimes used as an alternative to “insanity.” It refers to any mental illness severe enough to affect the defendant’s ability to understand the crime he or she is committing, the trial proceedings, or the punishment for the crime of which he or she was convicted. Insanity can affect a capital case at three points.

First, if the defendant / accused was insane at the time of the crime, he or she can be found not guilty by reason of insanity.  In most states, the burden of proof falls on the defense to show that the defendant was insane.  The jury must decide, based on testimony by psychiatric experts and other evidence presented during the trial. When the jury hands down return a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity, the defendant / accused is committed to a mental institution.  Four states (Kansas, Montana, Idaho, and Utah) do not allow a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity.

Second, if the defendant / accused is incompetent at the time of the trial and cannot understand the legal proceedings or cooperate with his or her counsel, then he or she can be found incompetent to stand trial. In most states, a judge makes this determination.  If such a finding is made, the defendant / accused is sent to a mental institution to be treated until he or she regains competency.

Finally, a defendant / accused who is insane as his or her execution approaches can be found incompetent to be executed. Under Ford v. Wainwright, it is unconstitutional to execute an inmate who does not understand his or her punishment or the reason for it.  However, if the inmate’s competency is later restored, he or she can then be executed.
Many mentally ill people do not exhibit their symptoms all the time.  What do you think about the practice of giving a condemned prisoner drugs or other treatment so that he/she can reach the degree of mental health necessary to carry out a legal execution?  What do you think should be done in these cases? Is this justice? 

1. Need 3 full pages
2. Need to have book

Book title: Corrections Today, 4th Edition
ISBN number: 978-1-337-09185-5


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