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April 25, 1891


JAMA. 1891;XVI(17):598-600. doi:10.1001/jama.1891.02410690022004

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There is an evident disposition in many quarters at the present time to assimilate the law of insanity to the criminal law. As is well known, for some years the State of Illinois has made trial by jury an essential prerequisite to admission to the asylums for the insane, and a similar provision is contained in a bill for the codification of the New York lunacy laws, recently introduced into the legislature of that State. We cannot but think legislation of this sort most unfortunate in every aspect in which it can be regarded. It is detrimental to the best interests of the insane; it is a needless affliction to their friends; it is an insult to the medical profession; it is a useless tax on the community, and there is no reason to suppose that it affords any protection against improper commitments that could not be secured in a

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