Durham Rule


Definition of Durham Rule

: a legal hypothesis under which a person is not judged responsible for a criminal act that is attributed to a mental disease or defect

First Known Use of Durham Rule

1955, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for Durham Rule

Monte Durham, 20th century American litigant

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The first known use of Durham Rule was in 1955

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Durham rule

Dur·​ham rule | \ ˈdu̇r-əm-, ˈdər-\

Legal Definition of Durham rule

: a rule of criminal law used in some states that holds that in order to find a defendant not guilty by reason of insanity the defendant's criminal act must be the product of a mental disease or defect — compare irresistible impulse test, m'naghten test, substantial capacity test

History and Etymology for Durham Rule

from Durham v. United States, 214 F.2d 862 (1954), a case heard by the District of Columbia Court of Appeals that established the rule

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to engage in dissolute behavior

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