Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The Recriminalization of Insanity

At the time of the "little Enis" case, Nicolas Sarkozy made it clear that he believed there ought to be some way of affording emotional satisfaction to the victims of crimes whose perpetrators were deemed "not responsible" for their acts by reason of insanity. Now Rachida Dati is ready to introduce a bill that would eliminate the insanity defense altogether, if I understand the purpose of the bill correctly. This is a step backward. The French are often critical, and rightly so, of the use of the death penalty in the United States. It is argued that the death penalty belongs to a lower stage of civilization. I am not sure that abolishing the insanity defense establishes the claim to have advanced to a higher level.

2 comments:

gregory brown said...

For anyone interested in the historical origins of this aspect of French law, an excellent thesis was defended on the topic last year- of which a short excerpt has been published as an an article in a criminology journal.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the link!