[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
August 2, 1930


JAMA. 1930;95(5):346. doi:10.1001/jama.1930.02720050034014

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


A crime, as distinguished from an accident, is an act that contravenes the law, committed with intent. The law assumes that a man intends the consequences of his acts unless evidence is introduced to show the contrary. Since intent is a state of mind, it follows that study of the mental condition of a defendant in a criminal trial is always pertinent. If the mind of the offender is afflicted by disease so as to distort his feelings or his ability to reason about the facts and circumstances surrounding the act, there can be no crime because the person is not free to form an intent. This attitude is logical and it follows that physicians must be concerned with those who commit crime. Unfortunately, it has been found impossible to formulate a satisfactory definition of what constitutes mental disease or what the law calls "insanity." In the majority of cases

First Page Preview View Large
First page PDF preview
First page PDF preview