Insanity Defense Reform Act

The Insanity Defense Reform Act (IDRA) of 1984 established the federal test of criminal responsibility (insanity) and must be used in all federal cases when the insanity defense is asserted.

The two most widely adopted insanity standards in the United States are the M’Naghten standard and the Model Penal Code test. The M’Naghten standard is a cognitive test that focuses on whether a criminal defendant has a mental health disorder that prevents the defendant from appreciating or knowing the wrongfulness of his or her actions. The Model Penal Code test is a model test put forth by the American Law Institute as an alternative to the M’Naghten standard. Under the Model Penal Code, a person is not responsible for his or her criminal act if, ...

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