in·san·i·ty n
1: unsoundness of mind or lack of the ability to understand that prevents one from having the mental capacity required by law to enter into a particular relationship, status, or transaction or that releases one from criminal or civil responsibility: as
a: a disease, defect, or condition of the mind that renders one unable to understand the nature of a criminal act or the fact that it is wrong or to conform one's conduct to the requirements of the law being violated
b: inability to understand and participate in legal proceedings brought against one: incompetence
c: inability to understand the nature and purpose of a punishment (as the death penalty) to which one has been sentenced
d: inability to understand the nature and consequences of one's acts (as making a will) or of events, matters, or proceedings in which one is involved see also commitment, durham rule, irresistible impulse test, m'naghten test, not guilty by reason of insanity, substantial capacity test compare capacity, competency, competent, diminished capacity, sanity
2: the affirmative defense of having acted while insane

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of Law. . 1996.

I noun aberration, aberration of mind, abnormality, alienation, alienation of mind, amentia, brain damage, craziness, daftness, delirium, delusion, dementedness, dementia, deranged intellect, derangement, diseased mind, disordered intellect, disordered mind, disordered reason, disorientation, frenzy, hallucination, insania, loss of reason, lunacy, madness, mental abnormality, mental alienation, mental decay, mental deficiency, mental derangement, mental disease, mental incapacity, mental infirmities, mental instability, mental sickness, mental unsoundness, paranoia, raving, unbalanced mind, unsound mind, unsoundness of mind, vecordia, want of comprehension, want of reason associated concepts: adjudication of insanity, diminished capacity, habitual insanity, incompetency, insane delusion, insane impulse to act, insanity defense, insanity plea, irresistible impulse foreign phrases:
- Furiosus nullum negotium contrahere potest. — An insane person can make no contract
- Furlosus stipulare non potest nee allquid negotium age re, qui non intelliglt quid agtt. — An insane person who knows not what he is doing, cannot contract nor transact any business
- Furiosi nulla voluntas est. — A madman has no will.
- Furiosus solo furore punitur. — A madman is punished by his madness alone.
- Furor contrahi matrimonium non sink, quia consensu opus est. — Insanity prevents a marriage from being contracted, because consent is required.
- Ira furor brevis est. — Anger is short insanity
- Furiosus absentis loco est. — A madman is considered as a person who is absent.
- Insanus est qui, abjecta ratione, omnia cum impetu et furore facit. — A person is insane who, deprived of reason, does everything with violence and rage.
II index lunacy, paranoia

Burton's Legal Thesaurus. . 2006

Madness or mental illness; the condition of being mentally ill to the point that one’s perceptions and behavior are seriously impaired and one is not responsible for one’s actions.

The Essential Law Dictionary. — Sphinx Publishing, An imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. . 2008.

in the criminal law of England and Scotland, a plea in relation to the mental state of the accused. It may be pled as a defence in its own right or submitted as a plea of insanity in bar of trial.
In English law, every person is presumed sane unless the contrary is proved. The burden of proving insanity rests with the accused (Woolmington v . DPP [1935] AC 462).
When insanity is pled as a defence, the criteria for determining whether or not the plea should be successful are the McNaghten rules (Re McNaghten (1843) 10 C&F, 200 8 Eng. Rep. 718). To establish such a defence the accused must show that at the time of committing the offence he was suffering from such a disease of the mind or defect of reason that he did not know the nature and quality of the act he was doing; or if he did know it that he did not know he was doing what was wrong. If the accused was aware that what he was doing was something he ought not to do and the act committed was at the time an offence, he is punishable. If the defence succeeds, the accused must be declared not guilty by reason of insanity.
In Scotland, as a defence, the state of mind must have been in existence at the time of the act in question. If sane at the time of the trial and the defence is established, then the accused will not be convicted but will be detained in the state hospital without limit of time. The accused must prove his insanity on balance of probabilities. The test is the overpowering of reason by a mental defect, leaving the person unable to control his own conduct. The McNaghten rules do not apply in Scotland: HMA v . Brennan 1977 JC 38. Scots law recognises an intermediate state between sanity and insanity, mitigating the crime of murder or attempted murder but not exculpating: the plea is called diminished responsibility. If successful, it results in a conviction for culpable homicide (in England manslaughter – See homicide) for which there is no mandatory sentence such as life imprisonment or, as was formerly the case, death by hanging. Non-insane automatism is recognised in Scots law as an exculpating factor: see Sorley v . HMA 1992 SLT 867.

Collins dictionary of law. . 2001.

Category: Criminal Law
Category: Small Claims Court & Lawsuits

Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary. . 2009.

n. A mental disorder that deprives a criminal defendant of capacity to be tried.

Webster's New World Law Dictionary. . 2000.

   mental illness of such a severe nature that a person cannot distinguish fantasy from reality, cannot conduct her/his affairs due to psychosis, or is subject to uncontrollable impulsive behavior. Insanity is distinguished from low intelligence or mental deficiency due to age or injury. If a complaint is made to law enforcement, to the District Attorney or to medical personnel that a person is evidencing psychotic behavior, he/she may be confined to a medical facility long enough (typically 72 hours) to be examined by psychiatrists who submit written reports to the local superior/county/district court. A hearing is then held before a judge, with the person in question entitled to legal representation, to determine if she/he should be placed in an institution or special facility. The person ordered institutionalized at the hearing may request a trial to determine sanity. Particularly since the original hearings are often routine with the psychiatric findings accepted by the judge. In criminal cases, a plea of "not guilty by reason of insanity" will require a trial on the issue of the defendant's insanity (or sanity) at the time the crime was committed. In these cases the defendant usually claims "temporary insanity" (crazy then, but okay now). The traditional test of insanity in criminal cases is whether the accused knew "the difference between right and wrong," following the "M'Naughten rule" from 19th century England. Most states require more sophisticated tests based on psychiatric and/or psychological testimony evaluated by a jury of laypersons or a judge without psychiatric training. A claim by a criminal defendant of his/her insanity at the time of trial requires a separate hearing to determine if a defendant is sufficiently sane to understand the nature of a trial and participate in his/her own defense. If found to be insane, the defendant will be ordered to a mental facility, and the trial will be held only if sanity returns. Sex offenders may be found to be sane for all purposes except the compulsive dangerous and/or antisocial behavior. They are usually sentenced to special facilities for sex offenders, supposedly with counseling available. However, there are often maximum terms related to the type of crime, so that parole and release may occur with no proof of cure of the compulsive desire to commit sex crimes.
   See also: insanity, defense, M'Naughten rule, temporary insanity

Law dictionary. . 2013.

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