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Psychiatric Defenses in New York County: Pleas and Results

NCJ Number
Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law Volume: 29 Issue: 2 Dated: 2001 Pages: 194-201
Stuart M. Kirschner Ph.D.; Gary J. Galperin J.D.
Date Published
8 pages
This study examined the use of psychiatric defenses in New York County and the results.
Studies that have investigated use of the insanity defense have revealed that the defense is rarely interposed. Few of those studies provided information on the use of psychiatric defenses other than insanity or reported on how such cases were adjudicated. This study examined all defendants who were indicted for felonies and who proffered any type of psychiatric defense in New York County (one of the five counties that comprise New York City) from 1988 to 1997. It summarized plea, acquittal, and success rates and the manner in which cases were adjudicated. Prior research revealed that the general public believed that a psychiatric defense was frequently used and often succeeded. However, in New York County, psychiatric defenses were proffered by only .16 percent of all indicted defendants. Psychiatric defenses in New York State included not responsible by reason of mental disease or defect or emotional disturbance; lack of criminal responsibility (i.e., insanity); and DC (mens rea), lacking the capacity to formulate a specific intent. Tables, references