The ALI Model Penal Code Test

The ALI Model Penal Code Test

The ALI Standard was developed to soften the McNaughton Rule and improve some of the problems seen with the Durham Rule. Under the ALI Standard, there were more strict rules for people with certain mental disorders. It was developed in 1962, and states that under this test, “a person is not responsible for criminal conduct if at the time of such conduct as a result of mental disease or defect he lacks substantial capacity either to appreciate the criminality of his conduct or to conform his conduct to the requirements of the law” (Inderbitzin, 1969).

  • It requires the defendant to have a lack of understanding or appreciation for what they did, rather than absolute knowledge, like in the McNaughton Rule.
  • Another requirement is that the mental disease or defect must be a medical diagnosis.
  • What is important to note about the ALI Standard is that it incorporates three aspects of the McNaughton, Irresistible Impulse, and the Durham. There was knowledge of the difference between right and wrong from McNaughton, lack of control in the Irresistible Impulse, and diagnosis of mental defect as in Durham (“Criminal Law,” 2012).

This change in the history of the insanity defense was important because of this incorporation of all three of the previous standards for insanity.


“Criminal Law.” (2012) Retrieved from

Inderbitzin, R. (1969). Criminal Law—The ALI Model Penal Code Test. LexisNexis.Retrieved from


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