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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: March 2, 2015 04:30 PM
From: Senator Lisa M. Boscola
To: All Senate members
Subject: Guilty, But Insane
In the near future, I plan to reintroduce my legislation removing the verdict of ‘not guilty by reason of insanity’ and instead allowing a person to be found ‘guilty, but insane.’

My legislation would establish that a person’s mental soundness cannot be used as a defense for serious criminal offenses. Far too often, we have seen murderers and other serious offenders take advantage of an insanity defense in order to avoid responsibility for their criminal actions.

This bill refines the definition of “legal insanity” to establish that one is legally insane if, during the commission of an offense, the person is laboring under such a defect of reason from disease of the mind as not to know the true nature and quality of the act. It would also go further to remove the verdict of “not guilty by reason of insanity” from consideration before the criminal court.

I believe this legislation is an attempt to reasonably balance the rights of those defendants who truly are insane, while protecting the law-abiding citizens of our Commonwealth from those who would feign a mental illness in order to avoid paying for their crimes.

I invite you to join me as a co-sponsor. This is a reintroduction of SB 488 from the previous legislative session. Co-sponsors included WOZNIAK and ALLOWAY.