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June 20, 1908


JAMA. 1908;L(25):2068. doi:10.1001/jama.1908.02530510036007

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It is gratifying to find that the Supreme Court of the State of New York, in rendering a decision in the Thaw case, has taken a stand which will tend to clear the ground in regard to what is aptly, if somewhat irreverently, termed the "insanity dodge" so often utilized. It has of late been an increasingly common occurrence for a person accused of murder to claim exemption from the penalty of the law on the ground that he was insane at the time of the commission of the crime, although he recovered his reason with remarkable celerity as soon as a verdict of acquittal was rendered. The law very properly refuses to recognize any plea as a justification for murder except that of self-defense. The man who has once shown that he becomes unbalanced enough under provocation to be unable to keep himself from violating the law gives evidence

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