There’s a big hubub in the national news about the fatal beating of a violent schizophrenic man by cops in Fullerton, CA. Critics claim that the man is dead because the cops didn’t have good training in how to deal with mentally-ill people. I doubt that. If someone assaults the cops, the cops have to defend themselves regardless of whether the person is mentally-ill. I could be wrong, but I suspect that this man is dead less because of excessive police force, less because of poor police training, and more because he should never have been on the streets in the first place. The deceased reportedly has a long history of erratic and dangerous behavior, so I suspect that this beating is mostly an illustration of the failure of “deinstitutionalization” in cases like his. If you’re not familiar with the public policy known as “deinstitutionalization,” I explained it here back on 4/18/07 in the wake of the massacre at Virginia Tech, and I’ve written about it since then on 4/5/09, 3/23/09 (you can find all of these pieces by going to the December 2010 Archive and then scrolling back through time).
In other Lawpsyc news:
The creep who allegedly kidnapped, murdered, and dismembered that little kid who was walking home from day camp in New York a couple of weeks ago has been found competent to stand trial. The defendant reportedly claims to hear voices, but as I’ve explained many times before, it really doesn’t take much to be competent to stand trial. Stay tuned, though, for a bogus insanity defense despite what looks like clear consciousness of guilt during and after the crime.
Add another domestic mass shooting — this one killing seven people in Ohio (the shooter was also killed by cops, but I never include the shooters in death tolls; it lumps them in with their victims, and they don’t deserve that) — to the tally of similar recent incidents.
Speaking of mass shootings and alleged insanity, check out this article on conditions at the prison where Norway’s mass shooter will go if convicted (i.e. if not acquitted by reason of insanity): http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/europe/08/02/vbs.norwegian.prisons/. Norwegians apparently call it “progressive.” I call it a mockery of justice!
Warren Jeffs has been convicted of sex crimes in Texas stemming from his bogus polygamous “marriages” to underage girls. Facing a life sentence, he’s reportedly now claiming that he was raised in a family with similar practices, which supposedly mitigates his criminal responsibility. No, it doesn’t. As I said on the Joy Behar show last week, we can’t allow guys like Michael Vick and Jeffs to claim that they’re not fully responsible for criminal behavior simply because they saw criminal behavior as kids. They’re adults now, and as such, they’re expected to think in terms of right and wrong, legal and illegal, and if they don’t, they need to be held fully accountable for the choices that they make.
Speaking of strange families, three Florida siblings — two brothers and a sister, all in their 20’s — are on the run after allegedly robbing a Georgia bank, firing high-powered weapons into the air and at police. Oh, and one of the brothers was on supervised release after sending sexually-explicit images to an 11-year-old girl, so once again, here’s a dangerous guy that we had in custody, off our streets, and we let him right back out. “Catch and release” might make sense for certain kinds of fish, not for dangerous sex offenders, and think about how insulting it is to the cops — they caught him once and now we’re making them dodge bullets trying to catch him again!
And speaking of catching and releasing, Casey Anthony has gotten another temporary reprieve from probation in Florida. The judge postponed a decision on whether she’ll have to return to that state to serve a year’s probation stemming from her prior felony convictions of check fraud. As I hated to say last week and still hate to say, I think she may actually prevail on the argument that she discharged the probationary obligation by remaining incarcerated (pending her murder trial) for more than a year after her sentence for the fraud convictions was up. Stay tuned.
Finally, you may have heard in recent days about a woman claiming to be the niece of a famous fugitive known as “D.B. Cooper.” I’m skeptical of her claims (surprise, she’s writing a book), but in case you’re wondering why she’s getting national attention, “D.B. Cooper” hijacked a commercial plane back in the 1970’s, collected a $200,000 ransom, then parachuted from the plane over the northwestern U.S. never to be seen again. He’s been presumed dead by many since some of the money was found on the ground afterward, but his body’s never been found, and his true identity has remained a mystery. I think it probably still will.