The insanity defense is one of the oldest fixtures of the Anglo-American legal tradition. Though it is available to people charged with virtually any crime, and is often employed without controversy, homicide defendants who raise the insanity defense are often viewed by the public and even the legal system as trying to get away with murder. Often it seems that legal result of an insanity defense is unpredictable, and is determined not by the defendants mental state, but by their lawyers and psychologists influence. From the thousands of murder cases in which defendants have claimed insanity, Doctor Ewing has chosen ten of the most influential and widely varied. Some were successful in their insanity plea, while others were rejected. Some of the defendants remain household names years after the fact, like Jack Ruby, while others were never nationally publicized. Regardless of the circumstances, each case considered here was extremely controversial, hotly contested, and relied heavily on lengthy testimony by expert psychologists and psychiatrists. Several of them played a major role in shaping the criminal justice system as we know it today.
In this book, Ewing skillfully conveys the psychological and legal drama of each case, while providing important and fresh professional insights. For the legal or psychological professional, as well as the interested reader, Insanity will take you into the minds of some of the most incomprehensible murderers of our age.