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Insanity and the Definition of Wrongfulness in California

NCJ Number
Journal of Forensic Psychology Practice Volume: 13 Issue: 4 Dated: July-September 2013 Pages: 355-372
Brandon A. Yakush, Psy.D.; Melinda Wolbransky, J.D., Ph.D.
Date Published
August 2013
18 pages
This article discusses the M'Naghten Standard.
Although the M'Naghten Standard originated in the mid-19th century, courts across the United States have continued, even up to recent times, to help clarify this commonly used definition for legal insanity. Since the reintroduction of the M'Naghten Standard in California in the early 1980s, much attention has been paid to it by the courts, especially in regard to the definition and interpretation of wrongfulness and, principally, moral wrongfulness. In order for forensic evaluators in California, as well as in other States utilizing similar definitions, to provide appropriate evaluations of mental status at the time of the offense, it is ethically necessary for them to understand and apply the relevant legal definitions developed over time through case law. Abstract published by arrangement with Taylor and Francis.