nFew cases have caused as great a concern over the functioning of the criminal justice system in the United
States as the verdict of “not guilty
by reason of insanity” in
the federal court trial of John Hinckley for the 1981 shooting of then President Ronald Reagan.
nThe Hinckley verdict motivated Congress and several state legislatures to review the status of insanity defenses.
nDissatisfied with the ALI test, which was applied in the
Hinckley trial, Congress decided to
eliminate the volitional
prong in the federal test for insanity and to revert substantially to the M’Naghten Rule
when it enacted the Insanity
Defense Reform Act of 1984.