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Irresistible Impulse Rule

The irresistible impulse rule is a legal test of insanity available to criminal defendants who have a mental health disorder affecting their volition. Under the irresistible impulse rule, a defendant is insane if, at the time of the crime, the defendant is either unable to distinguish between right and wrong or is incapable of controlling his or her impulse to commit wrongdoing. This entry first introduces criminal insanity tests in general and then outlines the development and application of the irresistible impulse rule. The entry concludes with a discussion of the criticisms of the irresistible impulse rule.

Insanity Tests in General

Insanity defenses were developed under the auspices of the Due Process Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits the trial of criminal defendants who lack competency ...

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