Florida courts use the “M’Naghten” rule as the basis of the “legally insane” standard. This rule was named after Daniel M’Naghten, who attempted to assassinate England’s Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel in 1843.
M’Naghten was delusional and convinced that Peel wanted to kill him, which was why he attempted the assassination. Instead, M’Naghten shot and killed Edward Drummond, Peel’s secretary. Medical experts testified that Daniel M’Naghten was insane, and he was found not guilty by reason of insanity.
In order for an insanity defense to be successful under this standard, the defendant must prove that when the crime was committed:
- The defendant had a disease or defect; and
- The defendant knew neither what his or her actions were nor their consequences; or,
- If the defendant knew what his or her actions were and their consequences, he or she must not have known that they were wrong.
The insanity defense is incredibly difficult to use effectively. Only about 1 percent of defendants try to use this defense, and it is rarely persuasive. Essentially, the defendant would have to admit to the crime, and his or her criminal attorney would have to prove that the defendant was insane at the time the commission of the crime took place.
Even when the not guilty by reason of insanity defense works, the judge could still commit the defendant to a mental hospital.
If you are facing criminal charges in Florida, contact Leader & Leader P.A. Michael D. Leader is a Fort Lauderdale criminal lawyer who will aggressively defend your interests.
As your criminal attorney, Mr. Leader will make himself available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call 954-523-2020 to schedule a free initial consultation.
Let’s take a closer look at the procedural implications of the not guilty by reason of insanity defense:
What Are the Procedural Implications of an Insanity Defense?
When an attorney uses the insanity defense, it must be determined if the defendant is competent to stand trial. The defendant must have the requisite mental state to stand trial. This means that he or she must understand that the proceedings are against him or her, that he or she is being tried for a crime, and the penalties of the charges. The defendant must also be in a mental state that allows him or her to assist his or her criminal attorney.
If you are facing criminal charges, contact Leader & Leader P.A. to discuss your defense options. Michael D. Leader has received the highest recognition by the Martindale-Hubbell Bar Register (AV Rating) for his abilities as a lawyer in and outside of the courtroom. Call 954-523-2020 to schedule a consultation with a criminal attorney in Fort Lauderdale.