First Use of Temporary Insanity as a Defense in the U.S.

About the first use of temporary insanity as a defense in the United States.

UNUSUAL FIRSTS

THE FIRST USE OF TEMPORARY INSANITY AS A DEFENSE IN THE U.S.

On Feb. 25, 1859, Congressman Daniel Sickles learned that his wife had been having an affair with Philip Key, son of Francis Scott Key who wrote "The Star-Spangled Banner." Two days later the enraged Sickles confronted Key and shot him twice, killing him. During the trial Attorney James T. Brady defended his client with the plea of "temporary insanity." Sickles was acquitted and later became a distinguished Union general in the Civil War.

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