The debate over whether individuals with mental health disorders, specifically considering those lacking the ability to appreciate the wrongfulness of their actions, should be held responsible for criminal acts has existed for centuries. However, it was not until the M’Naghten standard set forth rules for examining the status of the insanity defense that the modern concept of legal insanity was established. These rules were established in 1843, in response to a British legal case that ended in the acquittal of Daniel M’Naghten on the grounds of insanity. M’Naghten was charged with the attempted assassination of the British prime minister at the time, and in response to his acquittal, there was great public unrest and pressure for mental health law reform. The public outrage experienced during ...

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