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Not Guilty, Yet Continuously Confined: Reforming the Insanity Defense
American Criminal Law Review  (IF3.455),  Pub Date : 2020-03-01, DOI:
Bailey Wendzel

The insanity defense has been the subject of debate as much in academia as in popular culture. Recently, the defense captured public attention when James Holmes, the man found guilty of the Aurora theater shooting, asserted the defense at trial,igniting popular debate about mental illness and criminal culpability. The debate centers on how we should punish individuals who have committed a crime, yet may not be criminally responsible on account of a mental health condition. Though very few individuals are found not guilty by reason of insanity (NGRI),the insanity defense has long been caught in a contentious balancing act; one that involves balancing individual liberty, public safety, and our belief that individuals with mental health conditions deserve treatment.