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Insanity Defense

The case under analysis involves Lacey, a woman who has been consistently battered by her husband for years. She put up with his behavior with the hope that violence would end. On the day in question, the husband beat the defendant and pushed her down the stairs. Despite the fall, the husband did not stop beating her, which made her react by shooting him.


If I were Lacey’s defense attorney, I would use the insanity plea. The law of Illinois provides for situations where a defendant is temporary insane while committing a crime. The law 720 ILCS 5/6-2(e) requires that the accused proves that she was insane while committing the crime in order to be exonerated of any criminal charges. Therefore, I would have Lacey share her story of domestic violence with the court. Consequently, the court might understand the psychological stress that she went through in her marriage because of her dead husband. Lacey’s story would also include details of how she had temporarily lost her sanity and did not think of the criminal consequences of her actions while shooting her husband.

As Lacey’s defense attorney, I would then present to the court the evidence supporting the claim of temporary insanity by researchers. Researchers have discovered and proved the existence of the phenomena of temporary insanity among battered women. Such a condition is a psychological trauma known as battered woman syndrome (BWS) (Davis, 2016). The syndrome is recorded in women who are subjected to constant beatings by their spouses. This causes the abused psychological stress that in most cases leads to temporary insanity. However, in Lacey’s case, BWS did not last long after the woman had killed the spouse. She became sane shortly after committing the murder, which would justify the calmness of the defendant while being questioned by the police officer (Haydt, 2015).

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