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The insanity defense in legal proceedings follows from the assumption

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The insanity defense in legal proceedings follows from the assumption  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 01 Jan 2019, 21:43
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The insanity defense in legal proceedings follows from the assumption that the great majority of people freely choose to follow the law. However, some individuals—those determined to be lacking in the appropriate mental capacities—are unable to choose to follow the law. This scenario presents a conundrum for legal theorists. If someone is truly unable to follow the law, is it just to imprison him and punish him for something he did involuntarily?

Insanity as a legal defense traces back to a case in 1843, when a man named Daniel M’Naghten attempted to assassinate the British Prime Minister. M’Naghten’s laywers claimed that the would-be assassin was being persecuted and was driven to commit the crime. Prosecutors argued that in order to plan and execute the assassination, M’Naghten must have been in a rational state of mind. After several experts testified that M’Naghten was insane, he was found not guilty by reason of insanity, touching off a spirited legal discussion on the merits of the insanity plea. From these deliberations emerged what became known as the M’Naghten test, by which jurors were asked to judge the sanity of a defendant based on two questions. First, did the defendant know what he was doing when he committed the crime? And second, did the defendant understand that his actions were wrong? Jurors were instructed in all cases to presume the defendant was sane and only acquit on the basis of the insanity if “it was clearly proved that the accused was laboring under such a defect of reason as not to know the nature and quality of the act he was doing, or if he did know it, that he did not know what he was doing was wrong.”

Later versions of the M’Naghten test included an addendum that stated in cases in which the accused knew his actions were wrong, he could be acquitted if the jury determined he acted on the basis of an irresistible impulse. The implication was that some mental illnesses are so powerful that they cause people to act in ways that they know are wrong.

The passage is primarily concerned with evaluating

A. the accuracy of the jury’s verdict in the M’Naghten trial
B. the criteria used to determine whether a defendant is insane
C. the relation between mental illness and crime
D. the legal theories and assumptions behind the presumption of sanity in a defendant
E. whether it is just to imprison the legally insane who commit crimes





According to the original version of the M’Naghten test, a jury

A. should not construe the defendant’s ability to follow a rational plan as evidence of sanity
B. should not consider mitigating factors when sentencing the defendant
C. should evaluate how rational the defendant’s planning of the crime appeared
D. should acquit a defendant who satisfies one, but not necessarily both, of the criteria for legal insanity
E. should only acquit a defendant who is both unaware of his actions and does not understand they are wrong





The author of the passage would most likely agree that

A. It is difficult to reconcile traditional notions of justice with certain conceptions of mental illness.
B. Jurors should always presume a defendant is sane unless otherwise directed by the judge.
C. There are no mental illnesses that cause people to act in ways that they know are wrong and yet are powerless to resist.
D. The M’Naghten test will continue to evolve as more research is done on the nature of mental illnesses.
E. A person who is acquitted of a crime by reason of insanity is still responsible for his actions.





In the last paragraph, the author is primarily concerned with

A. summarizing the previous arguments about the M’Naghten test
B. presenting an evaluation of the usefulness of the M’Naghten test
C. detailing a more recent revision to the M’Naghten test
D. exposing the absurdity of using the M’Naghten test
E. suggesting a paradox inherent in the M’Naghten test




Source: McGraw-Hill's GMAT

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Originally posted by AsadAbu on 24 Mar 2017, 21:17.
Last edited by workout on 01 Jan 2019, 21:43, edited 2 times in total.
Edited the question.
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Re: The insanity defense in legal proceedings follows from the assumption  [#permalink]

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New post 06 May 2018, 22:31
Please explain question no 3:
The author of the passage would most likely agree that
A. It is difficult to reconcile traditional notions of justice with certain conceptions of mental illness.
B. Jurors should always presume a defendant is sane unless otherwise directed by the judge.
C. There are no mental illnesses that cause people to act in ways that they know are wrong and yet are powerless to resist.
D. The M’Naghten test will continue to evolve as more research is done on the nature of mental illnesses.
E. A person who is acquitted of a crime by reason of insanity is still responsible for his actions.
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Re: The insanity defense in legal proceedings follows from the assumption  [#permalink]

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New post 07 May 2018, 21:40
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kanthaliya wrote:
Please explain question no 3:
The author of the passage would most likely agree that
A. It is difficult to reconcile traditional notions of justice with certain conceptions of mental illness.
(gist of 1st para)
B. Jurors should always presume a defendant is sane unless otherwise directed by the judge.
C. There are no mental illnesses that cause people to act in ways that they know are wrong and yet are powerless to resist.
(last para states that there are mental illness ,which is why there is a modification in the M’Naghten test)
D. The M’Naghten test will continue to evolve as more research is done on the nature of mental illnesses.
(no mention of further research)
E. A person who is acquitted of a crime by reason of insanity is still responsible for his actions.
(OFS)


Hope it is clear now!
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Re: The insanity defense in legal proceedings follows from the assumption  [#permalink]

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New post 11 Jul 2018, 23:01
Yes, I got lucky with this answer. I was confused between Options A and B. The only reason I chose A was there is no mention of any Judge's directives in the passage as in the Option B.

tulikasaxena01 wrote:
kanthaliya wrote:
Please explain question no 3:
The author of the passage would most likely agree that
A. It is difficult to reconcile traditional notions of justice with certain conceptions of mental illness.
(gist of 1st para)
B. Jurors should always presume a defendant is sane unless otherwise directed by the judge.
C. There are no mental illnesses that cause people to act in ways that they know are wrong and yet are powerless to resist.
(last para states that there are mental illness ,which is why there is a modification in the M’Naghten test)
D. The M’Naghten test will continue to evolve as more research is done on the nature of mental illnesses.
(no mention of further research)
E. A person who is acquitted of a crime by reason of insanity is still responsible for his actions.
(OFS)


Hope it is clear now!

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The insanity defense in legal proceedings follows from the assumption  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 02 Jan 2019, 11:56
2
5 mins 38 secs... all correct. The topic under discussion is a rather unique one for anyone who is not from a law background. Good passage with good close options.

Let me know if anyone is struggling with a particular question and I will add my thoughts in a new post or as an edit to this one.

Edit 1: Adding explanations on request.
kksen18 please refer below.


Please bear with the long summary and highlighting of certain points...
Summary & Main point -
"A great majority of people freely choose to follow the law. However, some individuals—those determined to be lacking in the appropriate mental capacities—are unable to choose to follow the law." This presents a dilemma for legal theorists who are trying to ascertain whether it would be just to punish someone for a crime he or she did not willingly commit. Then a historical case of insanity in legal proceedings is presented and the M’Naghten test is detailed. This is the central idea of the passage - the test revolves around First, did the defendant know what he was doing when he committed the crime? And second, did the defendant understand that his actions were wrong? and the jurors were instructed (Implicite and not mentioned that they were instructed by the judges that the defendant is presumed sane unless insanity is established ( using the test ). Finally a latest development to the M’Naghten test is presented adding the clause of " irresistible impulse"


Once you get the above central idea - the questions can be tackled easily.

Having an idea of the central theme is essential to answer this question
1. The passage is primarily concerned with evaluating

A. the accuracy of the jury’s verdict in the M’Naghten trial Accuracy is out of scope. Discard
B. the criteria used to determine whether a defendant is insane BINGO - in other words this option is talking about the M’Naghten test which is the main point of the passage. One way to ascertain this is that it takes up nearly 80% of the passage :-)
C. the relation between mental illness and crime TRAP - this could be the indirect answer but this is not what the passage is *evaluating*
D. the legal theories and assumptions behind the presumption of sanity in a defendant Again - not what passage evaluate - just describes
E. whether it is just to imprison the legally insane who commit crimes Too broad and again discarded on the lines of the above

Detail question that can be answered by reading the second para. Also this is an inference type and hence we must be 100% able to support the option from the info provided in the passage
2. According to the original version of the M’Naghten test, a jury

A. should not construe the defendant’s ability to follow a rational plan as evidence of sanity Discard. This is not a part of the original test
B. should not consider mitigating factors when sentencing the defendant Mitigating factors? A general statement and
C. should evaluate how rational the defendant’s planning of the crime appeared BS Option. Nothing about appearance is mentioned. Discard
D. should acquit a defendant who satisfies one, but not necessarily both, of the criteria for legal insanity Bingo - this is verbatim mentioned at the end of the para when the first question fails the second question is asked.
E. should only acquit a defendant who is both unaware of his actions and does not understand they are wrong Opposite. Discard

Regards,
Gladi
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Originally posted by Gladiator59 on 02 Jan 2019, 01:45.
Last edited by Gladiator59 on 02 Jan 2019, 11:56, edited 1 time in total.
Added explanations on request. In progress.
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Re: The insanity defense in legal proceedings follows from the assumption  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Jan 2019, 11:39
Gladiator59 wrote:
5 mins 38 secs... all correct. The topic under discussion is a rather unique one for anyone who is not from a law background. Good passage with good close options.

Let me know if anyone is struggling with a particular question and I will add my thoughts in a new post or as an edit to this one.

Regards,
Gladi



Hello Gladi

Can you please explain questions 1 and 2?
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Re: The insanity defense in legal proceedings follows from the assumption   [#permalink] 02 Jan 2019, 11:39
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