Whether mental illness and related impairments in the human psyche should affect an individual's criminal responsibilityfor law-breaking behavior has always provoked intense andwide-ranging debate. This debate clearly reflects society's lack of consensus concerning the appropriateness and scope of considering mental impairment in assessing individual criminal responsiblility. Thus, it is not unexpected that recently proposals to abolish the insanity defense have been seriously suggested or that noted scholars have urged society to place the disposition of mentally ill offenders in the exclusive hands of experts. That this heated discussion continues unabated should come as no surprise, since legal doctrines which excuse or lessen criminal responsibility force us to reexamine the very purposes of imposing punishment through our criminal justice system.
John Q. La Fond, Book Review: H. Fingarette & A. Fingarette Hasse, Mental Disabilities and Criminal Responsibilities, 3 SEATTLE U. L. REV. 293 (1979).