Akshay Chand today has been acquitted of the murder of Christie Marceau, on the grounds of insanity. Click here for the full story.
Quoted from the article: “Chand hatched a plan to get out of jail. He wrote a letter to the court expressing his remorse, saying he was not a safety risk, and he got bail to his mother’s house in Hillcrest.” This plan worked, and could easily look like premeditated murder. What do you think?
The defense of insanity has been called “probably the most controversial issue in all of criminal law” (Melton et. al, 1987). The term insanity is actually a legal term that isn’t used in psychological literature. According to Black’s Law Dictionary (Garner, 1996) it is defined as; “Any mental disorder severe enough that it prevents one from having legal capacity and excuses one from criminal or civil responsibility”
So, insanity is a legal standard – not a medical or psychological standard. Based on this theory, the presence of insanity doesn’t allow for an individual to form “criminal intent” – therefore they lack “blame worthiness”. The legal is meant to look at it as simply as rehabilitation versus punishment. In order for there to be criminal liability there needs to be the combination of criminal intent (mens rea) and a wrongful act (actus reus) present.
In the US, the insanity defense is employed around 1 out of every 200 criminal cases, with only around 1% being successful. Not guilty by reason of insanity is also different than guilty but mentally ill. Usually, people found insane are treated in more of a hospital setting than a prison – and could remain there for (in some instances) longer than they would have had they been convicted normally. People found guilty but mentally ill are treated until they are competent to stand trial to then be convicted.
Whether it was premeditated murder or insanity – I think the signs were there and the murder of Christie Marceau should have been prevented.