Before the eighteenth century, insanity was considered a sickness rather than a mental disorder. It was a belief insane people were to be possessed by demons. Mentally ill people were treated as criminals for committing insane acts. Imprisonment, torture, and execution were the only treatment administered (Gado 1). It was not until 1843, in a Great Britain court against Daniel Mâ€™Naghten, proposals for changes to the methods of treating the mentally ill were looked at. This case provided the basis for legal decisions in American courts. In todayâ€™s judicial system, the defendants are abusing this plead to escape serving prison terms and execution.
Although, Daniel Mâ€™Naghtenâ€™s attempt to murder British Prime Minister Robert Peel failed, it resulted in the murder of the Ministerâ€™s secretary by mistake. Mâ€™Naghten was tried for murder; he pleaded for insanity. His attorney presented evidence that he suffered from psychotic delusions. Psychotic delusions are described as false, inaccurate beliefs the person holds onto even when he or she is presented with accurate information. The ruling of the trail was not guilty by reason of insanity. Mâ