Pleas of insanity exposed as loop holes in justice system

All aboard!

It may be from “Crazy Train,” but trains aren’t the only thing claiming to be crazy these days.

The definition of legal insanity differs from state to state, but is usually defined as whether the perpetrator is aware that his/her actions are wrong. Plenty of defendants have pled insanity to avoid a prison or death sentence.  A prime example of this is Anders Behring Breivek, the Norwegian man who was convicted of killing 77 people.  Breivek first bombed a government building, killing eight, and then proceeded to kill 69 people, mostly teenagers, at a summer camp.  He pled insanity, but was found mentally stable, and sentenced to 21 years of preventive detention, the “practice of incarcerating accused individuals before trial on the assumption that their release would not be in the best interest of society,” according to Encyclopedia Britannica.

This makes me wonder even more whether insanity is used too much in court.  There have been many court cases in which legal insanity is used, most of them having the plea rebuked.

However, there have been cases in which the insanity defense was successfully used, and, instead of jail time or a death sentence, the guilty  were sentenced to the laughing academy.

John Hinckley Jr. successfully pled insanity after shooting president Ronald Reagan, using the excuse that he was “just trying to impress Jodie Foster” by giving her the “greatest love offering in the history of the world.”  He fired six bullets in three seconds, seriously wounding President Reagan.  He was found not guilty by reason of insanity, and sentenced to life in an asylum.

In all honesty, I think that the insanity plea is just a loophole in the legal system, as do many other people.  Who cares if a person is insane?  They should be punished just as harshly as the rest of us if they commit a heinous crime, just like the normal civilian.  Maybe then the insanity plea would be taken more seriously.