A colleague of mine is teaching a graduate seminar called the Psychopathic Mind and every year he asks me to give a talk on the insanity defense. Today is that day so in an hour so I will be talking crazy murder! Here are a few of the slides… I don’t lean too heavy on PowerPoint (it keeps me on task mostly, but it’s great for pictures of course…
The following is an engraving of Richard Lawrence trying to assassinate Andrew Jackson… misfire! misfire! Sucked to be Lawrence… crazy as a loon… defense attorney? Francis Scott Key… YES that one. Interesting side note… Key’s grandson would be killed in the late 1850s in broad daylight within sight of the White House by Congressman Daniel Sickles after being caught in flagrante delicto with Mrs. Sickles. Sickles would beat the rap by winning the first temporary insanity defense. Kismet!
Next up is Charles Guiteau, assassin of James Garfield — probably would have been found not guilty by reason of insanity these days… but alas, the “stalwart of Stalwarts” hanged by the neck until he was dead. Here’s a letter he wrote to General Sherman as part of the coup Guiteau thought he was part of… poor delusional fellow. Garfield died a long and painful death — he would also have lived if the event had happened today.
And lastly is murderer’s row… a peanut gallery (or maybe mixed nut) of recent folks who did, are, or would have invoked insanity. Despite the press it gets… insanity is rarely invoked and rarely successful (approximately 1/4 of 1% of the time).
Anyway… that’s my morning. Enjoy!