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Pleasant Surprise: The Guilty But Mentally Ill Verdict Has Both Succeeded in Its Own Right and Successfully Preserved the Traditional Role of the Insanity Defense (From Criminal Law Review, P 3-56, 1988, James G Carr, ed. -- See NCJ-114710)

NCJ Number
I Mickenberg
Date Published
54 pages
The guilty but mentally ill (GBMI) verdict is premised on the notion that when a defendant raises a claim of insanity, the jury should be permitted to return a verdict that falls between the total inculpation of a guilty verdict and the complete exoneration of a not guilty by reason of insanity verdict.
Supporters of the insanity defense, contend that GBMI is a back-door attempt to abolish the defense that will immorally punish offenders who did not commit crimes of their own free will. Opponents of the defense, attack GBMI because it does not completely abolish the insanity defense. An analysis of the GBMI verdict shows that it preserves the principle of moral blameworthiness embodied in the insanity defense and permits jurors to make an unequivocal statement about factual guilt, mental condition, and moral responsibility of defendants claiming insanity. It reduces popular concern over feigned insanity by permitting the jury to recommend psychiatric treatment independent of a finding of nonresponsibility. In the Michigan GBMI statute, a vehicle also is provided for related statutes clarifying jury instructions and making jurors aware of the consequences of their verdict. Popular concern over 'hired gun' experts and incomprehensible psychiatric testimony also have been reduced by using the statute to integrate full participation by the forensic center into all insanity defense cases. While GBMI does not solve all problems posed by the insanity defense, it preserves the concept of criminal responsibility while ameliorating many defects. 236 footnotes.