Death Penalty for James Holmes?

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iVillage Member
Registered: 07-05-2005
Death Penalty for James Holmes?
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Mon, 04-01-2013 - 11:34am

DENVER — James Holmes, the man accused of shooting 70 people, killing 12, during a midnight attack at an Aurora, Colo., movie theater last summer, will likely learn Monday whether he’ll face execution if convicted.

Prosecutors from the Arapahoe County District Attorney’s office plan to announce in a 9 a.m. MT hearing if they’ll seek the death penalty, should the case go to trial. Monday’s decision follows last week’s legal theatrics in which Holmes’ defense team said it would enter a guilty plea if the district attorney settled on a life-in-prison sentence.

“It is Mr. Holmes’ position that this case could be resolved on April 1,” his public defenders announced last Wednesday in court filings posted online by the Denver Post. “Mr. Holmes made an offer to the prosecution to resolve this case by pleading guilty and spending the rest of his life in prison, without any opportunity for parole.”

Not only did prosecutors decline the guilty offer—first made prior to Holmes’ March 12 arraignment—but they also lambasted the defense for making it public.

Death penalty decision expected in James Holmes case- http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/death-penalty-decision-expected-james-holmes-case-113742034.html

What do you think will happen? Do you think he can (or should) face the death penalty?

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iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Mon, 04-01-2013 - 7:27pm

Wow. There are a lot of hate-filled and ignorant remarks in the comments section of that article....

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-23-2001
Mon, 04-01-2013 - 8:55pm
He's a sick man but he orchestrated the crime meticulously too, From trapping up his apartment to the time frame and the movie, It was very pre-mediated and it's a shame nobody caught him before he did what he did.

 


 


iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Mon, 04-01-2013 - 9:46pm

ITA, that is it a shame that nobody caught on before it happened. Sadly, even if someone did catch on, there is probably not much that could have been done. Until he actually did something heinous, he had the right to live freely. Personally, I think that people who seem to be psychotic should be able to be FORCED into "treatment" BEFORE they do something regretable.IMO, that is better than waiting for the unthinkable to happen.

I don't think that the vast majority of people who become psychotic will behave gravely violently, but I think that is irrelavent. If they rack up their credit cards, gravely harm themselves, lose their jobs, alienate all their friends, or in any way behave grossly differently than they did before the psychosis, I think they should have the opportunity to have treatment, even if they are unaware that they need it, BEFORE things get really bad.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-23-2001
Tue, 04-02-2013 - 8:06am

So do you agree that sentencing him to death is right here?  Mental illness is so complex, You know that. And it's sad b/c unlike other illnesses symptoms for mental illness are what you describe, alchohol/drug dependency too. Red flags were out there and my bet is there's a lot of unspoken issues in the family.

 


 


iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Tue, 04-02-2013 - 3:34pm

No. My general criteria for approving the death penalty is that the person has to have had at least two discrete events resulting in death. This is a single planned event which resulted in many deaths.

In addition, it does seem to me that the shooter has a serious mental illness. In general, I do not approve of the death penalty for those with delusions and/or psychosis, intellectual disability,  or non-adults.

Serial killers and sociopaths tend to be the ones I think should be put to death.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Tue, 04-02-2013 - 3:40pm

"my bet is there's a lot of unspoken issues in the family."

I'm not sure what you mean. I do not believe that family issues cause mental illness. I do believe that mental illness creates family issues.

I haven't had a chance to read it yet but Andrew Solomon's Far From the Tree is supposed to compare various disabilities and psychosis/delusions, in his opinion, are singularly awful.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-23-2001
Tue, 04-02-2013 - 8:34pm

I didn't say his family "caused" his illness or this crime, Nobody is responsible for anybody else's actions! But I do think his illness was probably treated like an elephant in the room, We'll never know exactly b/c that stuff is private. We aren't doing anyone any favors when we only call mental illness the patient's problem.

 


 


iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Tue, 04-02-2013 - 9:46pm

But I do think his illness was probably treated like an elephant in the room

Hmm. Sounds more like a judgment than an observation that any family would treat it like an elephant in the room. Not sure what you mean, though.

We aren't doing anyone any favors when we only call mental illness the patient's problem.

ITA.  I think that we as a society treat mental illness as an isolated incident for which an individual is personally accountable. We'd be way better off if we realized that anyone member of our society is susceptible to a serious mental illness as they approach early adulthood. We'd be way better off if we adopted that attitude, "There but for the grace of God go I" and supported serious mental illness in any way possible.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-23-2001
Fri, 04-05-2013 - 6:39am
There but for the grace of God go I is certainly a motto I could adopt, And I agree that ANYONE is susceptible to mental illness. Where society goes wrong IMO is turning an Adam Lanza into a celebrity which just sensationalizes the issue. I do believe he deserves as fair of a punishment for what he did as anybody else, You obviously don't.

 


 


iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Fri, 04-05-2013 - 12:29pm

I do not believe that Adam Lanza has because a celebrity in any positive way. I do think that for some reason the media and/or public has expressed a somewhat more compassionate understanding of mental illness and its impact on families recently. The comments in the orginal link were not reflective of that change.

I would have no idea how to go about assessing a "fair punishment" for a person's behavior while they were experiencing delusions or hallucinations. IMO those symptoms can so completely disrupt normal thought processes that "responsibility", "accountability" "culpability"  etc are extraordinarily difficult to discern - probably impossible. Therefore, I think the death penalty is inappropriate for people with serious mental illness, ie delusions, hallucinations.

I would have less difficulty discerning responsibilty for one's actions if the actions were brought on by substance abuse. For example, a person gets drunk, drives and kills someone. If they did it twice, I say death penalty is a reasonable option. In that case the person brings about the disordered thinking by taking the action of drinking alcohol.

For some people the disordered thinking happens for no apparent reason and part of the disordered thinking includes a belief that nothing is wrong. How does one assess what a fair punishment is for a person whose thinking quite suddenly becomes disordered and whose actions are based on unrealistic beliefs? Is it "fair" in your opinion to pretend that the person was unhindered by delusions and to hold them accountable as if they did not have delusions? How is that consistent with a "there but for the grace of god go I" motto?

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