|This lesson is a little different from the others. You are a court judge hearing a case on appeal. The case is laid out in the reading selection for this week called Han's Crime.
The question of guilt or innocence depends on proving Han is insane. Insanity it not a psychological term, it is a legal term. It means that the criminal did not understand right from wrong. The behavior was caused by an uncontrollable impulse.
The insanity defense has been used in many high-profile criminal cases involving mass murderers. For example, Kenneth Bianchi entered the insanity defense for his murders of twelve women in Los Angeles and in Bellingham, Washington. During hypnosis sessions with a psychologist, a second personality calling himself Steven Walker came out and claimed responsibility for the crimes. Bianchi claimed that he was not responsible for the murders because he was not aware that he had committed them. Not being the "executive personality" at the time of the crimes, Bianchi couldn't determine right from wrong. This raised a lot of issues regarding the plea of "not guilty by reason of insanity" in our legal system. Later, it was determined that Kenneth Bianchi was faking hypnosis and faking dissociative identity disorder (multiple personality) and he and his cousin Angelo Buono are still in prison today for their crimes.
The question with insanity revolves around the state of mind of the accused. Are the actions of Jeffrey Dahmler who consumed parts of his victims normal? Are the acts committed by David Burkowitz who committed murder because the dog next door "told" him to normal? Mark Hinkley, the man who tried to assassinate then-President Reagan, was trying to impress Jodi Foster because he had become taken with her in the movie Taxi Driver. Mark David Chapman, the man who killed John Lennon outside his Dakota apartment building in New York, thought that he was Holden Caufield, the main character in J.D. Salinger's novel Catcher in the Rye. Are the actions and thinking of these men normal? Clearly not. But are these men insane? Did they know right from wrong? Did they know their acts were against the law and not condoned by society? Did they attempt to cover up their crimes, elude the police and avoid capture? Do they have connections to reality enough to understand their crimes are wrong? All are still in prison to this day.
You will need to decide from this selection whether Han is sane or insane. You will need to provide a well-thought-out rationale for your ruling.
|Background of the case:
Han is a young Chinese knife thrower who appears at carnivals. He killed his wife by severing her carotid artery during a performance.
As you see in the reading, the lower court rendered its verdict. This case has been appealed to YOUR court. You can either
To do so, you must declare Han either
You are to write a 3-4 paragraph explanation of your decision. In your explanation your are to include the following:
Your response should be well-written with correct grammar and spelling. It should be a well-constructed essay.
When you've finished paste your work into an e-mail titled "Week 13 Homework." Then e-mail your work to me at email@example.com.
Copyright ©2009 Clay Sisman