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‘Civil Insanity’: The New York Treatment of the Issue of Mental Incapacity in Non-Criminal Cases

Cornell Law Quarterly, Vol. 44, pp. 76-93, 1958

18 Pages Posted: 8 Jun 2010  

Sheldon W. Halpern

Albany Law School

Date Written: 1958

Abstract

The issue of insanity as it relates to the criminal law has been the subject of exhaustive treatment by both lawyers and psychiatrists. However, while so much interest has been generated and focused upon insanity and crime, scant attention seems to have been paid to the issue of insanity or mental incapacitation in areas other than the criminal law; yet it is in the non-criminal field that the issue more often appears, to trouble the courts, befuddle the lawyers, and irritate the doctors.

The issue of mental incapacity may arise in virtually every type of legal proceeding, but it seems to arise most often in connection with the following situations: (a) actions involving contracts, gifts and deeds; (b) actions for the annulment of marriage; (c) probate proceedings; and (d) proceedings for the appointment of a committee and commitment to institutions. It is the purpose of this comment to examine the way New York has handled this issue in these situations.

Suggested Citation

Halpern, Sheldon W., ‘Civil Insanity’: The New York Treatment of the Issue of Mental Incapacity in Non-Criminal Cases (1958). Cornell Law Quarterly, Vol. 44, pp. 76-93, 1958. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1621904

Sheldon W. W. Halpern (Contact Author)

Albany Law School ( email )

80 New Scotland Avenue
Albany, NY 12208
United States
614-599-1118 (Phone)

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