Mens Rea and Mental Disorder
The Insanity Defense: Multidisciplinary Views on Its History, Trends, and Controversies. Mark D. White, Editor. Forthcoming
34 Pages Posted: 15 Dec 2015 Last revised: 1 Sep 2018
Date Written: December 11, 2015
This chapter in a volume on the insanity defense suggests that the law on mens rea entails law on the relevance of the criminal defendant’s mental disorder. The whole range of questions on the relevance of the defendant’s mental health should find answers flowing from how the law resolves questions on mens rea. For example, whether there should exist an insanity defense, and of what type, depends at least in part upon how the law treats mens rea. How the law treats mens rea, in turn, depends upon the purpose the law pursues in its doctrine of mens rea, and this purpose depends upon the purpose the law pursues in the criminal law itself.
Keywords: criminal law,mens rea,insanity defense,mental disorder,diminished capacity,legal history
JEL Classification: K14
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation