at the time the crime was committed.”1 This is explained by the fact that insane people are not in the position to appreciate and to tell the difference between good and bad, right and wrong, legal and illegal. Insanity defense is considered to be a defense by excuse.
Insanity defense dates back from Ancient Greece and Rome, however, the first definition that is closer to the modern definition of insanity defense was given by an English Court, in 1843, the insane person being compared to a wild beast. However, an earlier definition explains insane defense as it follows: “If a madman or a natural fool, or a lunatic in the time of his lunacy do [kill a man], this is no felonious act for they cannot be said to have any understanding will.”2 In the USA, some of the leading historical moments directly connected to the insane defense are: the case Durham v. United States3, (which established the Durham rule, also known as the “Product test”), the drafting of the American Law Institute Test (1953), the Hinckley case4, which led to the adoption of Insanity Defense Reform Act in 1984.
Nowadays, more and more jurisdictions choose to rename the insanity defense into mental disorder defense, trying to protect the authors of such crimes from being stigmatized with the label insane. This is the result of the development of human rights protection, this applying not only to good citizens, but also to everybody, disregarding their criminal or/and medical records.
As attractive as the insane defense may seem to cold blooded criminals, wishing to avoid justice with an insane plea, all the insane defense cases involve psychiatrists, psychological testing of the person claiming to be insane and the burden of proving to the jury that the crime was committed by a mentally ill person. For example, the case of Colorado v. Connelly5 is the story of a man found not guilty by insanity, and after 10 years, found guilty for the committed crime.
The Andrea Yates case is one of