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March 26, 1892


JAMA. 1892;XVIII(13):401-402. doi:10.1001/jama.1892.02411170027012

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Too Many Pleas of Insanity.  —In the New York Legislature a bill has been placed upon the calendar, and will probably pass, to stop the abuses and miscarriage of justice in the acquittal of criminals on the ground of insanity. If this bill becomes a law, no person acquitted of a capital offense on the plea of insanity shall be given his freedom until a jury shall have released him from the asylum to which he is confined. New York, in common with some others of our States, has an antiquated criminal legislation, devised before the insanity plea became popular, so that it is not difficult for a murderer even to get an asylum sentence, and after a while get a release on a habeas corpus writ, and again wage war on society. This undesirable procedure can be hindered if the freedom of the alleged insane criminal shall be placed

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