Report of the Trial of Abner Rogers, Jr: Indicted for the Murder of Charles Lincoln, Jr., Late Warden of the Massachusetts State Prison; Before the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, Holden at Boston, on Tuesday, January 30, 1844

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C. C. Little and J. Brown, 1844 - 286 Seiten
Bigelow and Bemis were counsel for Rogers. While a prisoner, Rogers stabbed the warden at Charlestown prison to death. He was acquitted on the ground of insanity, but committed suicide a few weeks after the trial by throwing himself out of a window. The case is significant for its early and successful presentation of the insanity defense.
 

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Seite 10 - The end of the institution, maintenance, and administration of government, is to secure the existence of the body politic, to protect it, and to furnish the individuals who compose it with the power of enjoying in safety and tranquility their natural rights, and the blessings of life...
Seite 276 - A man is not to be excused from responsibility if he has capacity and reason sufficient to enable him to distinguish between right and wrong as to the particular act he is doing ; a knowledge and consciousness that the act he is doing is wrong and criminal, and will subject him to punishment.
Seite 103 - ... he was committing ; or, in other words, whether he was under the influence of a diseased mind, and was really unconscious at the time he was committing the act that it was a crime.
Seite 17 - If some controlling disease was in truth, the acting power within him, which he could not resist, or if he had not a sufficient use of his reason to control the passions which prompted him, he is not responsible. But it must be an absolute dispossession of the free and natural agency of the human mind.
Seite 277 - If, then, it is proved, to the satisfaction of the jury, that the mind of the accused was in a diseased and unsound state, the question will be, whether the disease existed to so high a degree, that, for the time being, it overwhelmed the reason, conscience, and judgment, and whether the prisoner, in committing the homicide, acted from an irresistible and uncontrollable impulse. If so, then the act was not the act of a voluntary agent, but the involuntary act of the body, without the concurrence...
Seite 277 - ... if so, then the act was not the act of a voluntary agent, but the involuntary act of the body, without the concurrence of a mind directing it. The character of the mental disease relied upon to excuse the accused in this case, is partial insanity, consisting of melancholy, accompanied by delusion. The conduct may be in many respects regular, the mind acute, and the conduct apparently governed by the rules of propriety, and at the same time there may be insane delusion by which the mind is perverted.
Seite 277 - Either the delusion is such that the person under its influence has a real and firm belief of some fact, not true in itself, but which if it were true, would excuse his act...
Seite 279 - The same is true in regard to any question of science ; because persons conversant with such science have peculiar means, from a larger and more exact observation, and long experience in such department of science, of drawing correct inferences from certain facts, either observed by themselves or testified to by other witnesses. A familiar instance of the application of this principle occurs very often in cases of homicide, when, upon certain facts being testified to by other witnesses, medical persons...
Seite 276 - On the contrary, although he may be laboring under partial insanity, if he still understands the nature and character of his act, and its consequences; if he has a knowledge that it is wrong and criminal, and a mental power sufficient to apply that knowledge to his own case, and to know that, if he does the act, he will do wrong and receive punishment; such partial insanity is not sufficient to exempt him from responsibility for criminal acts.
Seite 280 - ... the respectful consideration of a jury. But the opinion of a medical man of small experience, or of one who has crude and visionary notions, or who has some favorite theory to support, is entitled to very little consideration. The value of such testimony will depend mainly upon the experience, fidelity, and impartiality of the witness who gives it.

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