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How Killing People With Mental Illnesses Has Become Common in Our Twisted Justice System

Society & Culture  (tags: abuse, americans, children, crime, death, death penalty, dishonesty, education, ethics, government, law, media, mental illness, news, politics, psychiatry, religion, society, violence )

- 2572 days ago -
There exists a cottage industry of high-priced psychiatrists and psychologists who are literally killing people with junk science testimony.

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Kit B (276)
Monday April 4, 2011, 11:49 am
In 1982, American jurisprudence sustained a crushing setback from which it has yet to recover. The iconic date is June 21 of that year, when a jury in Washington, DC, found John W. Hinckley Jr., the profoundly disturbed young man who shot President Ronald Reagan and three other men, not guilty by virtue of insanity. The verdict set off a firestorm of outrage that crossed the geographical and political divide; one day after the verdict was announced, an ABC News poll heard 83 percent of respondents proclaim that "justice was not done."

Juror Lawrence Coffey told a reporter at the time how he had lain in bed, ruminating on the evidence presented to him, and concluded, "I felt sure Hinckley wasn't in his right mind when he shot those people." Coffey was correct and a great deal of human misery would have been saved if politicians from right to left had listened to voices of clarity such as his. Instead, with Reagan's incision barely healed, politicos across the country lined up to strangle the insanity defense and, in four states (Idaho, Montana, Utah and, later, Kansas) to abolish it altogether. In 1984, the federal government hopped on board with its own draconian insanity defense statute.

Modern insanity defense ("insanity" is a legal term, while "mental illness" is the proper psychiatric expression) statutes date back to the M'Naghten Rule, which found its way into Scottish law in 1843. According to the M'Naghten Rule, a person can be found not guilty by virtue of insanity if he or she was unable to tell the difference between "right and wrong" when the crime was committed.

With advances in psychiatric knowledge in the 20th century, the M'Naghten Rule became increasingly difficult to sustain, because it imputed too much insight, too much self knowledge, on the part of the defendant. The first alternative to be considered was the irresistible impulse defense; stripped of legal jargon, this defense means that defendants are deemed mentally ill because they were helpless to control their acts. The irresistible impulse defense was certainly a welcome improvement over the harsh Scottish burr of M'Naghten, but it was also vulnerable to advances in psychiatric knowledge - this time, because it perceives mentally ill persons virtually as automatons. One hundred and eighty degrees around the compass from M'Naghten, it imputed too little self-knowledge to defendants.

The humane Durham rule is important, not because so many states adopted it, but because of the impact it would eventually have. Durham states that a person cannot be found not guilty if he or she was "mentally ill" at the time of the crime. Unfortunately, the Durham rule, which enjoyed its moment in the sun in the early 1950's, was tragically vulnerable because it did not define "mental illness."

With three competing legal standards for an insanity defense, a consensus ultimately emerged: the American Law Institute (ALI) Model Penal Code test, which draws from M'Naghten, irresistible impulse and Durham, generally with touches from the individual states. ALI-style bills prevailed across the United States, specifically in the District of Columbia, on the day that Reagan and Hinckley had their violent encounter.

States that have not entirely abolished the insanity defense have since replaced it with standards that distinguished death penalty lawyer George Kendall calls "stingy." Today's standards require evidence of very extreme mental illness, and even then, notes Kendall, "The prosecutors have the upper hand;" under prevailing laws, the defense lawyer bears the burden of proof in trying to convince the jury that his or her client was legally insane when the crime was committed. This is clearly a serious onus for indigent defendants who can't afford a parade of high-priced experts.

Truthout spoke with James L. Knoll IV, a medical doctor, director of forensic psychiatry and associate professor of psychiatry at the State University of New York (SUNY) Upstate Medical University. "Are Americans executing the mentally ill?" we asked.

"Yes," Knoll replied, explaining that this is the case not only because the death penalty defense is so very stringent, but also because research suggests that death row prisoners are apt to develop a mental illness, most commonly depression, while awaiting their fate. Owing to multiple levels of appeal, the typical death row inmate waits ten to 12 years before execution, a favorable appeals court ruling, or - with increasing frequency - exoneration.

Of course, the insanity defense is not reserved for capital cases - Hinckley did not kill anyone - but these are usually the most shocking. Prosecutors have the money and power of the state behind them, and there exists a cottage industry of high-priced psychiatrists and psychologists who are literally killing people with testimony that Kendall calls "junk science," such as predictions of dangerousness that are little better than the laws of chance.

These six-figure psychiatrists, says Stephen N. Xenakis, a medical doctor and retired brigadier general, are "profit-motivated hit men who interview prisoners with the aim of building a case for which they've already drawn their conclusions."

If Xenakis' name is not familiar to Truthout readers, it ought to be, because he is one of a handful of military officers who have been making the Pentagon unhappy by writing and speaking out against torture and rendition and working with the defense in terrorist cases.

Isn't it true, Xenakis was asked, that all forensic psychiatrists are biased toward the defense or the prosecution?

"In an adversarial system such as ours," Xenakis acknowledged, some psychiatrists are going to prefer working with prosecutors, others with defense attorneys. But, he insisted, there is a protocol that ethical psychiatrists will follow, regardless of which side of the court room they're sitting on.
A proper evaluation may consist of three components, Xenakis explained.

The first - after examining whatever paperwork may be available - is to develop a thorough history, which could take days or weeks of interviews with the defendant. The history must garner information about the defendant's childhood, his or her psychiatric, medical, educational, and employment background, the events and person's state of mind leading up to the crime and the person's present mental state. Some defendants are rendered so mute by their illness that they cannot even work with the expert psychiatrist.

Second comes the acquisition of collateral data to give weight to the history. Such data includes psychiatric and hospital records, school, prison and military records, and so on.

Third may come psychological or neurological tests. For example, the psychiatrist may sense that the defendant is somewhat slow intellectually. The psychiatrist will then order an I.Q. test, to be performed by a qualified clinical psychologist. The score might be sufficiently low that the defense counsel can mount a defense based on mental retardation, which is usually easier to win than an insanity defense. Many other trustworthy tests are available to help confirm the clinical impression a psychiatrist gains from his or her interviews with the defendant.

***Please continue reading at |Visit Site| the full article is on one page.***

By Robert Wilbur for Truth Out and Alternet

beatrice d (124)
Monday April 4, 2011, 12:19 pm
so interesting. thank you for having posted it Kit.
the death penalty, it is proven, is not a deterrent to crime.
And it's obvious that if you attempt to murder or do murder anyone you are not in your right state of mind, to say the least.
Mentally ill people should be cured, not given the death penalty. Executing this category implies nothing more than "getting rid" of them. A sort of "mental cleansing".

Tamila mendoza (177)
Monday April 4, 2011, 12:52 pm
noted, thanks

Terry King (113)
Monday April 4, 2011, 5:24 pm

Barbara Erdman (63)
Monday April 4, 2011, 11:46 pm
Noted :-0

Phyllis P (237)
Tuesday April 5, 2011, 6:39 pm
Noted....a long and complicated issue. Prison really isn't the place for the mentally ill, however, the state mental hospitals are short on staff and space. So what do we do? Well I guess you know the answer, sad as it may seem.

Kit B (276)
Tuesday April 5, 2011, 7:01 pm

We can afford limosines and drivers, for All of Congress and for 535 total in Congress we can afford for them
to have total staff of 30,000+ there is always money when the right people want it - otherwise there are budget troubles.

beatrice d (124)
Wednesday April 6, 2011, 12:13 am
well said Kit.

colleen p (38)
Wednesday April 6, 2011, 9:16 am
what do the animal rights people have to say to this? the ones who say "if a coyote mauls a child, don't kill the coyote, relocate it"

'I just wonder. because some of them promote human hunting

Claire Chu (0)
Wednesday April 6, 2011, 9:46 am
Hi, If u care about this issue, plz sign up the petition "Three notices to promote love & caring to psychiatric patients" created by me, Claire Chu, a graduate school student in clinical psychology and an intern psychotherapist, to support psychiatric patients and give love to them! Thank you so much!!

Kelsey S (0)
Wednesday April 6, 2011, 9:55 am
Noted, thanks.

Joseph Haas (1)
Wednesday April 6, 2011, 12:36 pm
"Waiting for Insane Wayne" [ read: ] is one of my favorite T.V. episodes of The "A-Team" where H.M. Murdock goes bonkers; see: of 49 minutes with John "Hannibal" Smith/ George Peppard as "Pecos Bob" too.(;-) Seriously though; thanks for the info.

Bruce Van Tassell (7)
Wednesday April 6, 2011, 1:04 pm
The justice system is more than twisted, it comes straight out of the backward thinking of Christian revenge.

Kit B (276)
Wednesday April 6, 2011, 1:35 pm

Claire your petition does not come up by that link.

Kit B (276)
Wednesday April 6, 2011, 1:45 pm

Try these links to find petitions on mentally ill and death row.

Robert B (60)
Wednesday April 6, 2011, 1:48 pm
Killing people to show that killing people is wrong is not a very bright idea to start with. And you'll never see a millionaire on death row, so it is a justice system set up for the rich and powerful only!

Jonjon Hoy (146)
Wednesday April 6, 2011, 2:08 pm
Thank you Kit B. This is just the Governments way thinning the population.

Janyce S (12)
Wednesday April 6, 2011, 2:26 pm

Carol H (229)
Wednesday April 6, 2011, 2:38 pm
noted, thanks Kit

. (0)
Wednesday April 6, 2011, 2:56 pm
I have always had a problem with the term "temporary insanity". Either you are , or you are not. This has permitted millions of people across America, who have committed outrageous acts of murder to be jailed for life, instead of being given the death penalty.
Can I answer questions having people questioning my sanity? Sure I can if it means I will not die for murdering my children, husband, wife.

Charles Thomas (1)
Wednesday April 6, 2011, 3:00 pm
The Nazis rounded up the mentally ill and liquidated them all in one swoop. We, wanting to be politically correct, do it a little-a-long.

Shirley H (49)
Wednesday April 6, 2011, 3:22 pm
I think Colleen should be ashamed of herself, what the french toast does animal abuse have to do with killing the criminally insane. Colleen obviously has never suffered from depression or any other mental illness. I feel sorry for you Colleen for you know nothing about what you speak.
Shirley H.

Kit B (276)
Wednesday April 6, 2011, 3:24 pm

I agree, most of the "temporary insanity" is lack of self control or some use of alcohol or other drugs or a choice. No one forces one to get drunk and kill their wife. For those who are insane, we must make proper accommodations before they harm others.

Alicia N (87)
Wednesday April 6, 2011, 3:35 pm
Noted with sadness.

Past Member (0)
Wednesday April 6, 2011, 4:37 pm
Thanks, a complicated issue indeed.

Craig Zimmerman (86)
Wednesday April 6, 2011, 6:39 pm
Early treatment of mental illness is the key to preventing future tragedies. There are almost always warning signs that an individual is becoming unstable.

Catherine Turley (192)
Wednesday April 6, 2011, 6:39 pm
i'm an animal rights activist and one of the only active members of care2 group 'against death penalty'. this may be one of the links you posted kit, but just in case...

once i copy your links, i lose access to that one.

my dearest friend has three mentally disabled adult children. i have learned over the years that you have to know just how to ask a question in order to get an accurate response. one girl is mute. social services interviews her yearly using her head nods and shakes as indicators. they don't take into consideration that she often nods yes when she means no. another girl regularly looks at books. if you ask her what the book is about, she'll tell you. if you ask her to read a little, she will. then ask her mom how long she's been reading, and her mom will tell you 'she can't read'. they appear to know right from wrong. they appear in control of themselves. they also get lost in the supermarket, lift their skirts to urinate in the middle of church, and steal food off of each other's plates when they haven't even finished their own. we'll never be able to appropriately evaluate every person who goes through the system, so we have to establish safeguards. abolishing the death penalty is a good place to start.

Elgrit B. Russell (4)
Wednesday April 6, 2011, 6:42 pm
Do the crime, pay the price. This insane or insanity stuff is ridiculous. They may be insane but they still committed a terrible crime and often killed people.

Remove them from society as you would any criminal and punish them accordingly.

Kit B (276)
Wednesday April 6, 2011, 6:49 pm

Your depth of understanding and compassion is truly touching, Elgrit. This about people who are actually mentally ill - not a legal term a medical one.

Susanne R (234)
Wednesday April 6, 2011, 9:50 pm
Lots of food for thought in this article. Thanks for posting it, Kit!

Cindy B (61)
Wednesday April 6, 2011, 11:33 pm
Having worked in the mental health system for 24 years, I can tell you that the MH system and the "justice" system are fine bedfellows, both being equally inept. There is no "curing" of most people in the MH system, at least not in the public sector. This isn't because their illnesses or disorders are uncurable, but because there's not NEARLY enough well-trained or caring staff, not nearly enough money, not nearly enough good treatment programs, groups, etc. The MH system HOUSES people, they MAINTAIN people, they CONTROL people, they ZONK people with meds... they do not cure them!! Psych hospitals are so understaffed you don't have remotely enough time to really counsel your patients, only to "check in" with them (usually for purposes of turning out a chart note, which benefits you but not them). IF you bust your butt to do good work, i.e., actually reading the chart, formulating treatment options and talking points, actually doing 1:1 counseling, etc. -- you're actually considered kind of a goody-2-shoes, like the only husband on the cul-de-sac out mowing the lawn on a Sunday morning. You're making the other staff look bad and they resent it! I speak the truth, so help me God.

SO, what they're probably thinking is this: why not kill the poor schmucks now, rather than house them and their mental illnesses, unremedied, for years and years? Because if your local psych hospitals are bad, that's NOTHING compared to prison MH units or state hospitals! I don't want to sound crass; believe me I do bust my butt and really care greatly for the patients. But I do speak the truth.

Anyway, thank you for the article. I didn't know shrinks were making so much $$ as "expert" witnesses, but it sure doesn't surprise me. The mental health system is one of the most hypocritical outfits I know of.

Kara C (15)
Wednesday April 6, 2011, 11:42 pm
colleen prinssen - I am one of those animal rights types and these two issues are totally different. A coyote is a wild animal that hunts and defends its territory, the only reasons for an attack on a human are if the human invades its territory or for food, also rabies (a physical disease). If the animal is healthy then it should be relocated so an incident doesn't happen again.

Executing somebody who is mentally unstable and has killed a person for no logical reason is acceptable. They can't be released into society for fear of re-committing a crime. Execution is the best option for them as prisons and mental heath facilities are over run and unsuitable places to keep them. It is also a lot cheaper for the tax payer.

chris b (2474)
Wednesday April 6, 2011, 11:44 pm
Sadly some practitioners of psychology and psychiatry are but one point away from qualifying for a diagnosis of mental illness themselves! Those that have been declared safe to release into the community by these so called "experts" and then gone on to kill are but one example of the ego driven inexactness of the science! The wearing of spotted bow ties by these people is perhaps a further indication of their desire to be identified as different from the norm!

chris b (2474)
Wednesday April 6, 2011, 11:53 pm
Mental illness is always on the back burner until the consequences of neglect spill onto the front page with some high profile violent crime! Membership of extreme political groups and religions that advocate intolerance and mayhem, self serving, selfish, right wing budget cuts for everything from mental health to reproductive health and social security are symptomatic of the problem of having endless availability of resources for war and destruction yet none for the people who need it!

Ludger W (71)
Thursday April 7, 2011, 2:41 am
Death penalty makes USA standing in same row of rogue states like China, Iran, Syria, Northern Korea and many others who still live in stone age or behind the moon.
Abolish death penalty how it is common in civil and modern states. Why US justice is mousheaded? Tiny mouses have more less fear than US-justice. Why god gave people brain? Begin to use it please.

Melissah C (389)
Thursday April 7, 2011, 2:52 am

Walter Firth (45)
Thursday April 7, 2011, 5:51 am
America stands alone a the only western democratic country to execure its people in the name of "justice"..It is time for to catch up to the other countries.

Kit B (276)
Thursday April 7, 2011, 6:20 am

This is from Wiki but gives an overall look at executions currently in the US. Many have tried to confront the problem that we still have a death penalty and yet it remains. Part of the problem may lie in the simple fact that each state must decide to give up the death penalty. I believe that 38 states have now stopped using the death penalty. This however, is focused on those who are actually medically mentally ill.

Capital punishment in the United States, in practice, applies only for aggravated murder and more rarely for felony murder. Capital punishment existed in the colonies that predated the United States and that were later annexed to the United States under the laws of their mother countries and continued to have effect in the states and territories that they became.

The methods of execution and the crimes subject to the penalty vary by jurisdiction and have varied widely throughout time. Thirty-two jurisdictions have banned it by law, others have suspended its use, and others are trying to expand its applicability. There were 37 executions in the United States in 2008, the lowest number since 1994 (largely due to lethal injection litigation revolving around a now resolved constitutional question).[There were 46 executions in 2010, 44 by lethal injection, one by electric chair (in Virginia), and one by firing squad (in Utah).
** The spilling of blood has to do religious beliefs by the Mormons.


bj. s (61)
Thursday April 7, 2011, 7:53 am

Brenda Towers (0)
Thursday April 7, 2011, 7:56 am
Noted with sorrow.

Dynelle M (13)
Thursday April 7, 2011, 11:14 am
HOSPIRA, (the US Co. that makes the lethal injection drug,) is stopping production. They have a lot of opposition from overseas, and now the overseas Co. KAYEM (also produces the drugs) is now following suit and stopping production! A small victory! They're beginning to understand how the mentally ill and the innocent are suffering from the death penalty, and how they're contributing to this injustice, for profit. Finally, companies are becoming conscious of their actions. :)

Kit B (276)
Thursday April 7, 2011, 11:17 am

I wouldn't go as far as to call them responsible or caring, they got caught selling drugs that were not up to standard. Someone else will sell these drugs or a new combination will be used. It takes a movement of the conscious and the heart to make changes.

Tierney G (381)
Thursday April 7, 2011, 12:57 pm
Kara C actually it is not cheaper to execute them. Appeals have been proven to cost more per inmate than housing the inmates in jail until their natural death!
End the Death penalty too many innocent people have been executed. eye for an eye is old testament brutality. We live in 2011 now.

M B (62)
Thursday April 7, 2011, 1:18 pm
I'm glad I don't live in America, where living doesn't count - exept if you have enough money. On the one
hand twelve year old kids go to a shrink, on the other hand people get killed if not function properly....

Kit B (276)
Thursday April 7, 2011, 1:22 pm

Sadly that is too true, Monika.

William Koeppen (9)
Thursday April 7, 2011, 1:24 pm
Why Not Hitler Did !!

Jonjon Hoy (146)
Thursday April 7, 2011, 2:19 pm
It's easy for the rich to make play money when the middle class knows the real value of money. The middle class know how to survive in hard times. The wealthy don't know the meaning of doing without.

Mary Donnelly (47)
Thursday April 7, 2011, 2:29 pm
Thanks Kit.

Abolishing capital punishment might solve the problem of killing these, and other people.

Getting to know these people's mental health problems earlier might help prevent the deaths for which they are responsible.

Natividad P (104)
Thursday April 7, 2011, 3:06 pm
Noted. Thank you Kit

resignd Cannot remove (139)
Thursday April 7, 2011, 3:19 pm
This interesting section of an interview with Dietz is most interesting, and suggests that the concerns about Islam countries to American movies and television programs is not unwarranted. Linked in the article in Alternet, and quite interesting about his decisions in evaluating whether one should be considered as mentally ill as part of their defense:

From The Dark World of Park Dietz:

"Dietz takes the popular media and their effects on behavior seriously. He believes that slasher movies, violent television programs, and news reports--especially television news reports--contribute to American society's problems with serial killers, sexual sadists, stalkers, and product tamperers.

When he studied material collected by the Attorney General's Commission on Pornography, of which he was a member in 1985-86, Dietz became concerned not about the sexual content of pornography but about its violent imagery. The public should stop worrying about nudity, he believes, and concentrate on how often movies, television programs, and magazines combine images of violence with images of sex. He acknowledges that some people turn to sadism after suffering sadistic abuse as children. But for others, he says, a deadly seed is planted by violent imagery, seen at a formative age, most often on television and in movies. Dietz is convinced that a vulnerable youngster may watch a sexy slasher movie and become conditioned to sexual arousal through such images. When that boy becomes a man in his 20s or 30s, society runs the risk that he will seek sexual gratification through actual, not fantasized, brutality.

"The system could not be better designed to create a nation with so many sexual homicides," Dietz says. "We pay for tickets to have this done to our children, and that amazes me." He says he wouldn't mind if every teenaged boy in America received a subscription to Playboy, and he's only partly kidding: "While they masturbated, they would be looking at attractive naked female bodies, instead of eviscerated female bodies."

He concedes that he has no quantitative research to back his assertions about sex and violence in the media, but he dismisses studies that claim to find no link between portrayed and actual violence. Too much of this research, he claims, is funded by the companies that profit from the media in question. Besides, he says, a typical study of the effects of violent imagery uses psychology students as test subjects, screening out those with psychological abnormalities--but the responses of normal people to such stimuli are not the issue. Psychologically normal people watch enactments of sex and violence, then go about their normal lives. It's the psychologically abnormal who respond adversely. "If you want to do a scientifically meaningful study," Dietz says, "show Body Double to a group of sexual psychopaths the day before you release them."

What has convinced him he's right are the number of cases he's worked on in which sexual murder, murder with torture, product tampering, carjacking, or workplace violence was inspired, instructed, or otherwise influenced by mass media. After Jamie Wilson shot up a schoolyard in Greenville, South Carolina, Dietz says, police found in his pocket a tattered newspaper clipping about a similar crime in Winnetka, Illinois. Serial murderer Joel Rifkin explained to Dietz how he'd re-enacted-- with live victims--a strangulation scene from the Hitchcock film Frenzy. Jeffrey Dahmer had tried to recreate a sequence from a low-budget slasher movie called Hellbent Hellraisers II, in which a victim is hung and skinned.

"Every time Body Double is on TV, there are sexual psychopaths in the audience," Dietz says. "Every time the news covers a workplace mass murder, there are people who have already bought the gun and say, 'Yeah, that's the way out of my dilemma.'"

During the testimony of film industry executive Jack Valenti before the pornography commission, Dietz suggested a "detumescence period" in movies, a five- or 10-minute interval between sexy scenes and violent scenes, so that violent imagery and sexual arousal do not occur simultaneously. He does not favor government regulation of film or television content, but he does favor litigation to force studios and other purveyors of mass media to regulate themselves: "I think the entertainment industry should be liable for the harm it does, like any other industry. Hollywood gains market share and doesn't pay a penny in compensation for the harm it does." He's watching for attempted bombings in imitation of the recent movies Speed and Blown Away. When his visitor informs him that Tom Cruise will be starring in the film version of the bloody, sexy novel Interview with a Vampire, Dietz closes his eyes and says, "Oh, shit."

He also asserts that the United States is exporting sexual violence to other countries through international distribution of Hollywood films. With regard to Europe and the countries of the former Soviet Union, he says he has predicted, and is beginning to see, a pattern of increased serial killing and sexual murder 15 to 20 years after those countries began importing American-made slasher films. The interval between the advent of the movies and the spurt in crime matches the period between when a vulnerable boy might view such material and when he becomes best able to commit sexual homicides.

Dotti L (85)
Thursday April 7, 2011, 3:55 pm
Beatrice, you said that mental illness should be cured. I doubt that many cases are cured. Treatable, controlled, a proper place with proper care givers - yes. But realisitcally, that is not going to happen.

Susan Pernot (75)
Thursday April 7, 2011, 4:53 pm

Susan Pernot (75)
Thursday April 7, 2011, 4:55 pm
aren't we all just a bit insane? But I do think to some degree it is a total copout.

Iona Kentwell (129)
Thursday April 7, 2011, 5:13 pm
Is it not insane to think that you can kill someone, that you have that right? Surely most if not all criminals have emotional issues, probably mental as well. We need to come up with a system that can help all individuals as they move through the stages of their life WAY before they get to the state of harming themselves or others. Right now almost every way we look is the threat of incarceration or drugging in the guise of genuine help.

Kit B (276)
Thursday April 7, 2011, 5:23 pm

Just flag the spam and note in the box that it is spam that will help,

Yes, Iona I do agree.

Lisa H (180)
Thursday April 7, 2011, 8:32 pm
Cindy tells it like it is. As a nurse of 20 years, I have seen the same. We can look back to our good buddy Reagan for defunding Mental Health Care, resulting in the mass dumping of mental health patients into the homeless population. There has been no mental health care for the poor since then. They can lock them away, pump them full of drugs, but they lack the staff or funds to acutally help them. The huge numbers of mentally ill in our overflowing prisons is due to this. It stands to reason that a large number of those who commit such crimes ARE mentally ill, but in our society of lawyers and punishers, how would you know the difference, without real, actual psychological care? And if treatment is NOT available for mental illness, can we really blame the ones the system has failed when they eventually commit a crime?

Jeanne M (84)
Thursday April 7, 2011, 8:46 pm
It is time to remove the death penalty completely from the justice equation. Capital punishment leaves absolutely no room for error, and the justice system's track record has not been stellar in that regard.

Charlene Rush (2)
Thursday April 7, 2011, 10:23 pm
You have to wonder, some times, who ARE the most mentally ill.

No one asks to have a mental illness. It is a brain disorder and a nasty trick by nature.

Any state that puts mentally ill people to death, is a sad excuse for a state in our nation.
Not for one second, can I believe that our Founding Fathers would have condoned this practice.

We have no right to inflict the 'death penalty' on anyone. It is not about JUSTICE; it is about VENGEANCE.
No true Christian, would approve of this penalty. (Remember: Turn the other cheek?)

Parvez Zuberi (7)
Friday April 8, 2011, 2:40 am
Noted a very sad state of affair

Donald Cordell (8)
Friday April 8, 2011, 5:49 am
If you dare, Google "John Hinckley Sr. Then recomment. And you trust our government? SAD!

Judith H (27)
Friday April 8, 2011, 9:07 am
ok, i get it, you don't want mentally ill people put to death, even though they have a blood thirst, killed one or more people, and if let to live will most likey kill again if given the chance. So let us support them either forever or until some dumb DR says they are fit for society and lets the out, hopefully as your next door neighbor. Just remember we put dogs down for rabies-that they didn't ask to get, we destroy whole herds of domestic/wildlife because of disease (its supposedly humane too) they didnt ask to get sick either. So tell me please..Why isn't it humane to do this to a killer human with a mental disease who is a BOIL on humanity?
Please tell me????????

Doug G (0)
Friday April 8, 2011, 12:37 pm
Demonization is how the human race has always justified it actions. To make the case for war, just demonize those you oppose. Remember the Cold Wa? They demonized Communists to justify the Vietnam War but as time has reveled, this was a total lie just to make war seem appropriate. today, Capitalists lay in bed with Communists everyday in this world, as long as it is profitable for them, nullifying the whole idea of "evil' communists.
"W" did it to justify his intrusion into Iraq and any othesr who would disagree with him. Conversely, every country thinks they have god on their side and invokes such sentiments during times of conflict.
I truly believe humanity is mentally ill, which is why it is so hard for it to identify mental illness and to deal with it effectively. History is ripe with examples of insanity, and the present nonsense going on in the US today gives validity to the whole concept of human insanity and madness.
Given the right circumstances, every human is capable of murder just as they are capable of lots of other ugly things. Denial, greed, short sightedness, arrogance..... the list goes on and on. To some degree or another, humanity=madness.

Edward M (8)
Saturday April 9, 2011, 8:02 am
A point that should be notwed is that the Nazi government used euthanasia to murder psychiatric patients in the years 1939-45

jane richmond (10)
Wednesday June 15, 2011, 8:18 am
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