Will a Policy Prohibiting Civil Liability for Insane Murderers Encourage Pleas of Insanity In Civil Suits ?
The Court relied on McIntyre in Robert v. Hayes, 284 Ill. App. 275, 278, 1 N.E.2d 711, 712 (1936), to decide a trial court did not err in refusing to instruct the jury on the question of insanity as a defense to causing the decedent's death.
In Vosnos v. Perry, 43 Ill. App. 3d 834, 837, 357 N.E.2d 614, 616, 2 Ill. Dec. 447 (1976), the First District reversed the trial court's finding the defendant's lack of capacity to form criminal intent in carrying out a murder was a "complete defense" in a wrongful-death suit against the insane murderer.
Vosnos stands for the proposition that insanity is not an affirmative defense to a wrongful-death suit, not that it may be a partial defense.
Moreover, Vosnos recognized McIntyre as controlling.
In discussing the policy reasons behind its decision, the court noted where two innocent parties suffer losses, the party who occasioned the loss should bear responsibility for it. Vosnos, 43 Ill. App. 3d at 837, 357 N.E.2d at 615.
Vosnos also adopted the principle that someone who engages in violent acts should make financial restitution to his victim. Vosnos, 43 Ill. App. 3d at 837, 357 N.E.2d at 615.
Vosnos agreed with McIntyre's observation that a policy prohibiting civil liability for insane murderers may encourage pleas of insanity in civil suits. Vosnos, 43 Ill. App. 3d at 837, 357 N.E.2d at 616. Those same policy reasons still ring true today.