The article by Joni E Johnston

The article by Joni E Johnston presents relevant legal examples of complex situations that weigh between sanity and insanity. Danueal Drayton is criminal suspect arrested and facing charges of race, attempted murder and murder. According to his written confession he claims to have killed seven women across the country, and investigation are yet to confirm these claims. However, he is bargaining for an insanity plea that would allow him to walk free from all his offense by serving time in psychiatric institution rather than a maximum prison for his offenses (Joni E Johnston, 2018). Drayton claims that in as much as he committed the offenses he is not criminal responsible, arguing that he suffers from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

The insanity defense for serial killers is quite common. The article mentions several serial killers who have attempted to take the insanity plea to avoid the death penalty for their heinous offenses. Out of the (17%), serial killers who apply for the insanity plea, only (3%), are successful in convincing the jury. According to criminal psychology studies serial murder are premediated and involve calculative planning, most killers are keen on avoiding detection. Based on these argument serial killers show element of alertness, precision, and responsibility that would conventionally be missing in an insane character (Joni E Johnston, 2018). Serial killers are also known to select vulnerable victims such as children and women, thus they the disgust the public and jury attracting the death penalty as penance for their crimes.

Fortunate for Drayton his medical records provide a history of mental illness. Reports show that he was placed on psychotropic medication after a schizophrenia diagnosis. However Drayton is repeat offender, he previously got out on an incompetency ruling following his arrest for violating a protection order filed by his ex-girlfriend. There were several concerns on mental state of health after his ex-girlfriend and victims statements reveal that he was simply acting insane to walk free from all charges leveled against him. The statements provide that Drayton was not mental unstable or delusional during his assault and attacks on his victims rather he was conscious and well aware of his actions.

The article presents a legal dilemma for the criminal justice system. The medical reports provide that Drayton is suffering from schizophrenia, which is a mental disorder associated with rage issues, delusions, and hallucinations. Schizophrenia tends to make its victims irrational and high aggressive. Based on medical reports, Drayton should not be held criminal responsible for his actions. On the other hand, criminal reports from the victim provide that insanity is a cover used by Drayton to escape the hands of the law. Unfortunate, for written statement by victim, they are subject to biasness and have no factual proof or evidence. The article also provides that Drayton had initially been set free following an incompetency ruling. For Drayton this further adds on to his plea for insanity.

Sanity is a mentally stable state of mind, individuals who are sane are fully aware of their actions thus exhibit total responsibility for their deeds whether good or bad. While an insanity is a mentally unstable and abnormal state of mind, individuals often act without the awareness of the consequences of their action (Bartol & Bartol, 2017). As such, they cannot take responsibility of negative or positive deeds they participate in during their mental deranged episodes. A plea of not criminal responsible by reason of insanity warrant a more lenient punishment for offences. Ideally, such offenders are given treatment and rehabilitation as they are consider just but victims and not offenders as other who are sane. Incompetence ruling allow offenders considered as mentally unstable such as Drayton to escape trail due to their lack of comprehension. Psychologist today struggle to find the appropriate balance between sanity and insanity, as all criminal offences deserve punishment under the law.


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