I’m back!

I know, the Casey Anthony trial started this week, kind of, and I was a.w.o.l., but I have a good excuse — I was in a fire.  Really, and it injured one of my hands to the point that I really couldn’t type much this week.  So, now that my hand and my typing skills are on the mend, it’s time for a brief catch-up.  Here goes:

Yes the Anthony trial is underway, jury selection at least.  It’s being held in Clearwater, about 100 miles away from where the actual trial is set to be held, in the hopes of getting an unbiased jury pool a.s.a.p.  There have been several delays already.  The initial jury pool was contaminated by contact with an expected witness, and subsequently-called prospective jurors are taking about three times longer to vet (be interviewed by the lawyers and judge) than expected.  The hope is that a jury and several alternates will be settled upon this coming week.  I have to admit that it’s looking like I was wrong when I predicted a last-minute plea deal in this case.  The defense team has added a mitigation expert, someone who helps convicted capital defendants avoid the death penalty in the sentencing phases of their trials, which suggests that they’re planning to see this trial through to a verdict.  It’s rumored, but not confirmed, that “mitigation” evidence in Anthony’s case would include evidence of past sexual abuse.  As usual, I can see why that might engender some general sympathy for a defendant, but I don’t know what it really would have to do with the commission of a murder by that defendant or with the appropriate punishment for that defendant.  Stay tuned, the forecast has things heating up in Florida late this coming week or early next week and remaining hot for weeks to come, and I’ll have your semi-daily Casey updates right here.

In other Lawpsyc news:

If you’re keeping score, the consensus now appears to be that at least three separate killers are responsible for the ten bodies that have turned up on Gilgo Beach on Long Island.  You may recall Nancy Grace and another “expert” telling me how utterly ridiculous that was when I was the first person in the national media (as far as I know) to say it on her show several weeks ago.

In the wake of Usama bin Laden’s killing, the duplicitous nature of the Pakistani government (at once an ally and an enemy) has become clearer than ever.  I’ve said many times that Pakistan is the most dangerous country on the planet because it has nuclear weapons and, I believe, people in its government who would A) like to see one or two of those get into the hands of groups like Al Qaeda for use in the West (i.e. the U.S.) and/or B) gladly hand one or two of those off to just about anybody in exchange for enough money.  Many have dubbed bin Laden a “narcissist” based on video of him watching himself on television, and while I don’t mind bin Laden being labeled as just about anything negative, strictly from a clinical standpoint, I have to say that’s probably jumping the gun — most people, including me, who speak on television regularly watch replays to see how the message came across.  What we’re seeing clearly, however, is what I’ve said many times about bin Laden and other so-called “Islamic” terrorists:  they’re really not that religious!  Bin Laden had a huge stash of pornography in his compound, and believe it or not, that’s actually par for the course among these jihadist-types.  Many/most of the high-profile ones we’ve captured/killed have had lots of pornography as well as criminal sexual histories involving solicitation of prostitutes, loitering outside of schools, etc., often right here in the U.S. while the future terrorists were supposedly in “college” (another reason we shouldn’t let potentially-dangerous individuals into this country ostensibly for educational purposes unless/until we have both accurate and extensive behavioral histories from their home countries and unless/until we can know where they are and what they’re up to while they’re here — like if they never actually enroll in classes and try to just “disappear” into the jihadist underground in one of our major cities.).  These guys aren’t “holy” men of God.  They’re garden-variety psychopaths who’ve latched onto a religion as an excuse to act out their psychopathy.  That’s why I’d like to point out an article by Irshad Manji from the Wall Stree Journal online:  http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703992704576305412360432744.html.  In it, she echoes what I’ve said many times about the need for mainstream Muslims worldwide to speak out in a louder, more-unified voice against the ongoing selective interpretation of their religion to justify violence.  These psychopaths need to be marginalized, excommunicated really, far more vociferously and clearly by the very faith community that they profess to represent.

It’s been great this week to finally see some misdemeanor-level accountability in the Phoebe Prince case (Massachusetts high school girl who killed herself after relentless bullying), but it’s not enough.  The prosecutor should’ve held out for harsher penalties for the bullies, and the accountability shouldn’t stop there.  While the take-home message for Prince’s non-bully peers is to speak up, voluntarily, instead of standing idly by and watching bullying happen, teachers and school administrators don’t have that choice; they have a duty to act, and I’m concerned, given the extent of the bullying that Prince endured, that there may have been some teachers and/or administrators in that school who had reason to believe that Prince was being physically bullied and didn’t do enough to stop it.  No child should attend school in fear, and if one does, then the adults on the scene, who are acting “in loco parentis” (in the place of the student’s parents) need to be held accountable.  I’m also concerned that not enough attention is being paid to the parents of the bullies, some of whom I also bet knew or should’ve known, at least to some extent, what their kids were doing.  If your child is a bully, then you are failing shamefully as a parent when it comes to teaching your child values and empathy, and that’s going to hurt your child and others immeasurably over the course of his/her life.

A University of Virginia law student — that’s right, law — admitted writing a false article about an alleged incident of racial profiling and mistreatment that he supposedly had suffered at the hands of campus police.  After a thorough (and probably costly) investigation, it turns out that he made the whole thing up.  It’s been argued that the stress of merely being black in the U.S. may have compromised his judgment.  No way.  Though just days from graduation, he should absolutely not have a law degree conferred upon him, ever.  He was willing to let law enforcement officers be wrongfully punished, maybe even fired, for his lies.  All lawyer jokes aside, he’s unfit to be a member of the legal profession, period.

And finally, it wouldn’t be a Lawpsyc blog without some crazy celebrity behavior:  Singer Whitney Houston’s reportedly headed back to rehab, and Lindsay Lohan, after pleading no contest to the theft of that now-famous $2,500 necklace, reportedly is headed back to…the big screen.  That’s right, looks like she’ll end up doing a couple of weeks of “house arrest” instead of the at-least-four-months that she was supposed to spend in jail, then a little sham “community service,” and she’ll be “moving on,” ironically, to a movie about the infamous Gotti crime family.  When this woman eventually hurts/kills somebody, like in a drunk/high-driving accident, the California justice system will be blameworthy for repeatedly failing to get her off the streets, literally, and for repeatedly sending her the message that her behavior is tolerable.

Thanks for hanging in here with me and checking back in after my unscheduled week-long absence!

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