In simple terms, insanity defense means that a criminal defendant is not guilty by reasons of insanity. In business law, the term is more relevant when related to the execution of contractual obligations and liability. However, insanity in the general concept of civil or criminal law is controversial. The burden of proof is not entirely clear as to where it should lie. The state or the defendant is often put to test not withstanding that there are psychological institutions, which have relevant resources to establish the same. In contractual agreements, insanity defense renders the contractual obligations and liability invalid (Roger and Gaylord 248). This means that the party is excused of any legal implication arising from the contract.
Historically, several rules have been put forward to confine the matter of criminal acts resulting from insanity within the standard and generally acceptable limits. The M'Naghten rule and The Durham Rule have been used as court case examples often to determine the criminal responsibility arising from insanity (Roger and Gaylord 486). The civil rule confines insanity to a state that renders the victim incapable of reasoning clearly to what he is doing. It is the inability to fathom the nature and the effects of the transactions, which he is committing.
It is critical to understand that insanity is traditionally considered a medical condition. Because of its adverse use in the common law it is now commonly associated with the legal meaning. The condition is medically defined within the limits of mental disorder, brain syndromes, and other psychotic abnormality. With advancement in research and dynamics in psychology, the question of insanity continues to vary in the context of willful action and partiality in insanity among others.
There are general myths associated with insanity. They typically focus on the overuse of the defense, disposition of the acquittees, severity of the mental disorder and the crimes committed. , it is a fact that the state confines the acquitted to institutions to evaluate their mental health and studies confirm that the almost 1% of all felonies raise the issue of insanity defense while 26% of the ratio are successful on such grounds (Matthew 224).
These facts, make it clear that the public overestimate the use of the term, mainly because it elicits legislative and public attention and its emergence use in entertainment movies. It is prudent for the public to understand the facts on the issue as well as involve medical experts in cases proving extreme for the courts to handle. Insanity defense will continue to remain controversial because the facts of the mental condition and willful intent are not certain. , with medical advancement, the law will be forced to change as the certainty of some conditions become implicit.