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Here's how the insanity defense works; Courts have long recognized that severely mentally ill offenders aren't ordinary criminals

Sep 04, 2019 - Washington Post Blogs

Lawgivers have wrestled since biblical times with the issues of whether and when brainsick people are morally responsible for bad acts.

In English law, a standard for insanity verdicts dubbed the M'Naghten rule was adopted in 1843, and it eventually took root in the former colonies.

Named for a deranged, would-be political assassin, the rule said an accused person should be acquitted if, during the offense, he was "labouring under such a defect of reason, from a disease of the mind, ...