Duquesne Law Review


The United States Supreme Court has held that when a criminal defendant proves by a preponderance of the evidence that he is not guilty of an offense by reason of insanity, the due process clause of the fourteenth amendment does not prohibit the government from confining him to a mental hospital until such time as he can establish that he is no longer mentally ill or a danger to himself or society, even if that period is longer than the maximum incarceration period for the underlying crime. The author discusses the Court's recent decision within the framework of modern sociological thought. A careful reading of the ideas and structures expressed and detailed by the prominent social theorists of the twentieth century suggests that the Jones decision is, in essence, a reflection of the numerous social forces that were influencing the deciding Justices-forces which continue to exert their pressure. As such, the author concludes, it is highly unlikely that the Court will depart from Jones and its desired effects, for to do so would be to defy these powerful and continuing societal influences.

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