The Insanity Plea is a book about the Uses & Abuse

s of the Insanity Defense in various cases. The book is by William J.
Winslade and Judith Wilson Ross. In this report, I will basically summarize
the book and tell you different ways people have used and abused the
Criminal Justice System using The Insanity Plea.
I will first talk about the case of Dan White. On November
1978, Preliminary reports began broadcasting news of the events in
town called Jonestown, at first all that was known, was that people
of a
religious cult shot and may have even killed California
Leo Ryan. Then on November 27, 9 days after the news of the
death of
Congressman Ryan another 2 deaths happened. George Moscone,
mayor of San Francisco, and Harvey Milk, a city supervisor and
leader of San Francisco’s politically active gay community, had
shot and killed at death in the San Francisco City Hall. The Police
sniffed-out and charged Dan White with the murders of the 3
In 2 years the trial ended with the verdict of guilty on the account
manslaughter. He was later sentenced to 7 years and 8 months in a
Prison, with a possibility of parole after 5. After the verdict there
Riots breaking out in the streets because of the verdict. Before
hand he
was elected a Supervisor and resigned because he didn’t like the
that Politics worked. The point before, that I may not have
is that the defense argued that he was insane and that “a person
with a
normal background who was brought up in a good home,
something is
obviously missing.” Since he was being charged on 3 accounts of
Murder in the 1st, they somewhat bought the insane defense so
lowered his charges to 1 account of voluntary manslaughter, where
received 7 years and 8 months with a possibility of parole after 5
In the summer of 1978, Lyman Bostock seemed to have it
very good. He was one of the 3 highest paid players EVER in the
American League and he was highly regarded by fans and
alike. Then one errie, summer night at 10:30 Lyman Bostock was
gunned down at Fifth and Jackson in downtown Gary, Illinois
while he
was riding in the back seat of his uncle’s Buick with a twelve gauge
hot gun, that was fired by a Mr Leonard Smith. Leonard Smith
was a
33 year old, unemployed Truck Driver, who lived in Illinois. He
never met or seen Lyman Bostock, but if you think about it, if he
actually sat down to think about it, a pro baseball player would
obviously be very high. Leonard had dreamed about getting it as
as Lyman, he dreamt about a wife, a kid, a dog, a nice house with a
fence around it, and job security, but his attempts always failed
of things like his wife, his employers, racial prejudice and life
Although it was not lucky at all for Lyman to be on Fifth avenue
having his skull blasted away with a gun, it because extremely
lucky for Bostock because in 21 months after the shooting, he
out of jail after receiving 4 months of physiciatric treatment and
months of evaluation. He was found not guilty of all charges due
to the
plea of Insanity. To get that verdict he had to go through 2 trials.
the first trial, that lasted 3 days, it ended in a hung jury. Dr. Frank
Hoggle and Dr. Lee Michael testified in the 1st trial. Dr Hoggle
him on and off for about 3 months. Dr Perioclat only saw him
nd each of those times they were very brief. Both had testified,
he was both legally sane. Dr Hogle was a little doubtful about his
legally sane verdict but the other one was very certain of it. In the
second trial that was held, they eventually got to the not guilty
due to insanity and some time in a crazy phicility(is that a scientific
The last case that I will tell you about in this report is the case
Robert Torsney. Robert Torsney was a New York City Cop who
carried around his gun. The killing occurred in daylight while he
sober, working, alert, and paying attention to details. Torsney had
stable job, was happily married and was in good physical health.
On the
night of Thanksgiving, Torsney fired his gun at 15 year old, Randy
Evan’s from a distance of about 20 inches, penetrating his skull
penetrated his brain and he died. He left the kid laying there, dying
the street as he casually walked back to the car with the 2 other
that were in the car. Needless to say, they arrested him and he was
brought to court on the charges of 1st degree murder where he was
found not guilty due to the plea of Insanity. On Thanksgiving Day,
1976, Torsney had to work and was unhappy about it. At thirty-
he had been on the force for about 8 years and he was sick and
tired of
the conditions he had to work through. He would rather be at
with his wife and kids at Thanksgiving, just like the average person
America was doing. He made a note of the crappiness that he felt
the top of his log book that read “Happy Working Felony
Thanksgiving.” The police officer received a call from a residence
of a
neighbor hood that a person with a gun was lurking around.
Robert Faity, Matt Williams and Torsney were dispatched to the
Houses. He searched the house and found nothing. He undid the
leather to allow easy access to his gun as he came out of the
A group of black teenagers, including Randy approached the
and shouted out to Torsney and asked if his apartment had been
searched. Torsney immediately pulled his gun and shot him in the
head. Torsney was found with 5 years in a Loony Bin with help
other people.
The book itself only gave the plain hard facts on the case and the
author did not say anything about his oppinion on any case so I will
expand my oppinion. I think that the Insanity Plea is often mis-
ordianary people just like you and me get of with only 4 years in a
mental home for killing people. Also the people who actually ARE
insane sometimes get ruled down and are put in jail, where they
even more crimes.
So as you can see, sometimes the Insanity plea was put to
use and some bad, well I guess that is just an opinion. There were
more cases left in the book but those were the most important ones
the book, if I took the time to do all of them, This report would be
pages long. I thank you for reading it, adios.