Document Type



The Problem of Mental Disorder in Crime, 32 Columbia Law Review 933 (1932)


One of the consequences of the law's acceptance of the lay notion
that most people are free rational agents is the tacit assumption that except
in clearly recognizable cases of marked dementia, all people are the
same and should be treated alike. No middle zone is recognized. This
approach to the problem of anti-social behavior is, of course, completely
opposed to the present trend of thought. To the criminologist mental
abnormality is an extremely broad concept; and is merely one of the
factors to be considered in determining in individual cases why an offender
offended and what method of treatment would be most effective
in protecting society against a repetition of such behavior. But the law
could not adopt such a view and still continue to exist as it is classically
envisaged. Law is general; rules are framed in advance and are applied
to all equally. An inquiry into the causes of behavior for the purpose
of determining a legal result would make each case unique. There
could be no law.

Date of Authorship for this Version



criminal procedure, psychology