Insanity Defense, Juries and

The insanity defense is one of the most controversial legal defenses in the U.S. legal system, as demonstrated through the constantly evolving insanity laws and the public response to insanity cases. There is extensive evidence to suggest that juror attitudes, preconceived notions, and case-relevant biases and beliefs affect their judgments in insanity defense cases. Research provides strong support for the finding that negative attitudes toward the insanity defense have a robust effect on mock jurors' verdict decisions. Additionally, there is evidence that jurors, rather than relying on instructions and legal definitions, tend to rely on their own commonsense notions of what is considered sane and insane and to use these in determining their verdicts. At the same time, a number of other factors, such as ...

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