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mental disorder of such severity as to render its victim incapable of managing his affairs or of conforming to social standards. Today, the term insanity is used chiefly in criminal law, to denote mental aberrations or defects that may relieve a person from the legal consequences of his or her acts. The case of Daniel McNaughtan, who was found not guilty by reason of insanity after making an assassination attempt on British prime minister Robert Peel (1834), gave rise to the modern insanity defense used in many Western nations today. In the United States, the 1954 case of Durham v. the United States led to the establishment of new rules for testing defendants. Today, psychologists may perform tests to determine whether or not the defendant is mentally stable. Such tests try to ascertain whether or not a defendant can distinguish right from wrong, and whether or not he acted on an "irresistible impulse." John Hinckley's assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan (1981) became another landmark in the history of the insanity defense. The court's initial verdict of "not guilty by reason of insanity" generated public outcry and renewed interest in the verdict of "guilty but mentally ill," which is permissible in some states. This verdict allows defendants deemed mentally ill to be hospitalized but requires them to carry out a reasonable prison sentence as well. In 1983, the Supreme Court ruled it permissable to keep a mentally ill defendant hospitalized for a term longer than the maximum sentence for the crime with which the defendant was charged. Many have contended that the insanity defense is nothing more than a legal loophole, allowing serious criminals to escape imprisonment. In fact, the plea is rarely employed in the United States, and it is estimated that less than 1% of defendants have used it successfully. Recent years have seen the restrictions surrounding insanity defense considerably narrowed, with the sole criteria for a successful plea being the determination of whether or not the defendant knew he was breaking the law.


See R. Simon and D. Aaronson, The Insanity Defense (1988); R. Porter, A Social History of Madness: The World Through the Eyes of the Insane (1989).


Any mental disorder.
In forensic psychiatry, a mental disorder which prevents one from managing one's affairs, impairs one's ability to distinguish right from wrong, or renders one harmful to oneself or others.
Term previously used to indicate mental disorder; no longer used in medical contexts.


1. relatively permanent disorder of the mind; state or condition of being insane
2. Law a defect of reason as a result of mental illness, such that a defendant does not know what he or she is doing or that it is wrong
References in periodicals archive ?
Also, it is clear that at a crazing stress of 40 MPa, the failure stress is lower for 1% crazed samples than for uncrazed samples, but the failure stress is relatively constant when going from 1 to 10% relative craze density.
Table 1 shows that the ductility of polycarbonate crazed at 40 MPa is much lower than for polycarbonate crazed at 45 MPa.
A correlation will now be sought between strain rate and ductility of crazed polycarbonate.
These results show that the model produces a good prediction of the yield stress of crazed polycarbonate at the endpoints, with a slight underestimation at non-endpoint conditions, which is more desirable than overestimation.
Since the model shows that strain rate is the only important experimental factor in predicting the yield stress of crazed polycarbonate, the Eyring stress-rate model for thermally activated deformation processes will now be considered.
3] must work cooperatively for yielding to occur in crazed polycarbonate.
In PP/Noryl, large Noryl particles are effective to bigger crazing so that large crazed zone is developed at the crack tip.
The toughening mechanism investigations show that a large fan shape crazed zone and small intense plastic strips are developed.
The final observation concerns the solvent uptakes in the unstressed and the crazed samples - each solvent has a different behavior:
The fact that the crazed samples displayed a lower butyl acetate uptake than the unstressed samples can be considered the consequence of solvent-induced crystallization, which takes place more rapidly in the presence of both a good solvent and some stress.
ss] is equal to the time rate of energy flow to the crazed zone.
f] is the ratio of the density of the crazed mate rial to the density of the material in the surrounding homogeneous polymer.