Saturday, February 19, 2011
T.D.I.H. - Feb 19
On this date in history, the insanity defense is used successfully for the first time. It helped that the man who used it was a member of the Tammany Hall political machine and a Congressman. His name was Daniel Sickles. He murdered the man having an affair with his wife, but was found innocent due to temporary insanity. He later served as a general in the Civil War. His conduct in the army was questionable, both his military decisions and his personal behavior. His insubordinate actions at Gettysburg have been described both as nearly disastrous and as the key to Union victory. During the battle he lost a leg due to cannonfire. (The bones are still in a museum in Washington D.C.) Over thirty years after the battle, he was able to use his poltical ties to convince Congress to award him the Medal of Honor for his actions at Gettysburg.