Publication information

Bulletin of the Massachusetts Department of Mental Diseases
Source type: government document
Document type: article
Document title: “Medico-Legal Insanity and the Hypothetical Question”
Author(s): Briggs, L. Vernon
Date of publication: July 1921
Volume number: 5
Issue number: 2-3
Pagination: 14-28 (excerpt below includes only page 22)

Briggs, L. Vernon. “Medico-Legal Insanity and the Hypothetical Question.” Bulletin of the Massachusetts Department of Mental Diseases July 1921 v5n2-3: pp. 14-28.
death penalty.
Named persons
Leon Czolgosz; Charles J. Guiteau.
In the bulletin’s table of contents Briggs’s article is assigned the numerical designation 336 (1921.13).

“By L. Vernon Briggs, M.D., Secretary, Massachusetts State Board of Insanity, 1914-16” (p. 14).

Medico-Legal Insanity and the Hypothetical Question

     When we execute a feeble-minded or non compos person or an insane person, such as a Guiteau or a Czolgosz, we have not advanced beyond the custom of seven hundred years ago when they executed animals for crime who were as responsible as many of these individuals, and who had in many instances been taught to know the difference between right and wrong, as many of our animals do know what is right and what is wrong for them to do. And the effect of such punishment as is meted out by society at the present time to these medically irresponsible individuals is no more deterrent than it was to those animals.