In Cold Blood

Marlen Rodriguez
Block 9
In Cold Blood- Judge Tate’s Decision

During Perry and Dick’s trial, there were two different laws which played a huge

part in the decision Judge Tate ending up making- those two laws being the M’Naughten

Rule and the Durham Rule.

During the trial, Perry and Dick were examined by a physician who specialized in

in the field of psychiatry to see if they were criminally insane. The results, however, came

out   both positive and negative for Perry, not as much Dick. The M’Naughten Rule, which

states that “if the accused knew the nature of his act, and knew it was wrong, then he is

mentally competent and responsible for his actions“. The Durham Rule on the other hand,

proves the accused not guilty if they had a mental illness. The M’Naughten Rule

condemned both Perry and Dick because both of them knew right from wrong, but their

case was more complicated than that. While Dick showed emotional abnormality, Perry

showed “definite signs of severe mental illness” as well as schizophrenic attributes. Even

so, because they knew right from wrong, the Durham Rule was useless.

Judge Tate was mentioned earlier in the book as being a judge that “goes strictly

by the text”, something that made it pretty much impossible for Dick and Perry to leave

the trial as not guilty.

The trial was a bit unfair, seeming as the only thing the psychiatrists could

respond with was either “yes” or “no”, and not give explanations regarding the results of

the exams of the accused. If the psychiatrists had been given the chance to explain the

results, then Dick and Perry would have been found not guilty by Judge Tate, who I

believe would have abided by the Durham Rule instead of the M’Naughten Rule.