(Received 10 March 1984; accepted 8 June 1984)
Published Online: January
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Public outrage has been mounting in recent years over the increasing number of violent crimes and assassination attempts. Before the 1982 Hinckley verdict, criticisms over merits of the insanity defense were escalating. Immediately afterwards some inaccurate news reports and hyperbole by public figures added to the popular perception that the insanity defense and psychiatric testimony have allowed notorious offenders more favorable dispositions, or perhaps even to go “scot-free.” Systematic review of fates of prior Presidential assailants demonstrates that both legal and extralegal consequences for their violent acts have been severe. Some inferences are discussed.
chief of forensic services and associate professor of psychiatry, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX
Stock #: JFS10961J