TBA Law Blog

Posted by: Suzanne Craig Robertson on Jul 1, 2019

As you probably know, insanity is a legal term of art and not a medical diagnosis, as Jason R. Smith writes in his article this month, " Invested with a Strange Authority: A Guide to the Insanity Defense in Tennessee." He writes that the Insanity Defense Reform Act of 1984, which was designed to “tighten the traditional insanity rule,” was enacted in response “to a large public outcry” following the acquittal by reason of insanity of John Hinckley Jr. for the attempted assassination of President Ronald Regan. Likewise, “[t]he 1995 amendment [of section 39-11-501] was an obvious expression of legislative intent to restrict the defense of insanity." Questions you must have about what goes into an insanity defense will be answered in this fascinating guide.