Friday, 6 March 2015

The First Person To Use The Temporary Insanity Defense

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The notion of temporary insanity argues that a defendant was insane, but is now sane. Dan Sickles (1819-1914) was a congressman, a union general in the Civil War and a U.S. minister to Spain. He was also the first person to use temporary insanity as a legal defense.

In 1859, Sickles was accused of murdering his wife's paramour, Phillip Barton Key. After the murder, Sickles confessed and surrendered himself to Attorney General Jeremiah Black at Black's home. Although he confessed to the murder, at his trial, Sickles' lawyer claimed Dan Sickles was driven insane by his wife's infidelity.

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