Law Quadrangle (formerly Law Quad Notes)


Editors Note: Extracts from an amicus curiae brief filed by Professor David Chambers in United States v. Brawner, in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit invited a thorough reconsideration of the insanity defense. At various places in his brief, Professor Chambers draws upon a 1969 study of hte operations of John Howard Pavilion at St. Elizabeths Hospital he did for the National Institute of Mental Health.

Several versions of the insanity defense are under consideration in this case. The purpose of this brief is to suggest that much more is needed than a reformulation of the test before the defense can operate in this jurisdiction in a manner that will provide a fair hearing to defendants raising the defense and that will serve satisfactorily the functions this court has envisioned for the insanity defense.