M’Naghten Rule Questioned

McLaughlin trial puts focus on insanity defense:

It seems that some people have their panties in a wad over Minnesota’s insanity defense law known as the M’Naghten Rule. Especially after John Jason McLaughlin was ruled sane after being found guilty of shooting and killing two of his classmates. Which is all well and good except for one thing. McLaughlin was more than likely faking it. The similarities between his “symptoms” and movies and TV shows that are documented that he saw are too strong to ignore. Yet the article declares that he had multiple diagnoses of schizophrenia. What they forget to mention is that he wasn’t diagnosed until after the killings. How convenient. But I’ve been over this before. The bottom line is if you relax the M’Naghten Rule you’re just giving cold-blooded killers one more chance to walk.

5 thoughts on “M’Naghten Rule Questioned”

  1. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. If he had schizophrenia – to the point he claims, at least – it would have been obvious. It wasn’t. He didn’t. ‘Nuff said.


  2. As for the M’Naghten Rule, I think this says it all: “Criminal defense attorneys have long been M’Naghten critics.”

    Sometimes, simple is the best answer. If they knew what they were doing is wrong, they’re held accountable. If not, they’re held for treatment. Dark ages, my ass.

    While I agree that a diminished capacity plea is appropriate in some cases, I hope the core rule stays unchanged.


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