Medicine: Insanity in Court

The question of what constitutes insanity for purposes of the law, which has plagued jurists and psychiatrists for a century (TIME, April 4, 1955), got a spectacular airing in Massachusetts last week. In Boston, the governor's executive council of nine (lawyers and laymen, no judges) ended, with a dramatic reversal, a long debate with its collective conscience over the fate of Kenneth Chapin, 20, of Springfield, who two years ago used a bayonet to stab to death a 14-year-old baby sitter and her four-year-old charge.* What convinced the council was expert and dramatic psychiatric testimony.

"The Way I Am." After his arrest...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!