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
Sat, 04-13-2013 - 6:14pm

This is absurd.

OK, then. Explain it to me. If a person has anosognosia and has no idea that they have a mental illness, how much practical sense does it make to hold them accountable for decisions/behaviors influenced by their mental illness?

Isn't that the situation we have created for ourselves? Wathcing and waiting. Allowing people who are incapable of knowing their is a lurking problem to experience their "freedom". Holding our collective breath, hoping for the best? Hoping that they decide to commit a misdeamor rather than a killing spree? Letting those close to them watch powerlessly? How is that anything other than absurd?

That's a pretty large population would you not agree?

IMO, there is a bigger difference between the seriously mentally ill and the mentally ill than there is between the mentally ill and the non-mentally ill. Yes, many people have mental illness, depression, anxiety, etc just like many people have diabetes. Just like diabetes where there is a difference in the treatment of type I and type II, there is a vast difference between having a panic attack and having a command hallucination with anosognosia.

I do not see it as justice to hold a person with anosognosia and psychosis as responsible for their actions as a person without them. I do not view "mental illness" as an "excuse". Viewing it as such leaves us in the predicament that we are in, ie, waiting for people to commit a heinous crime so that we can punish them for it. Wouldn't it make more sense to be a little pro-active? To stop pretending that people with mental illness are not impaired? To stop pretending that punishing them for lacking "personal responsibility" after the fact is beneficial to anyone?

Fate? Really? Do people chaulk up Sandy Hook and Aurora to fate? Inevitable? Wow.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-23-2001
Sat, 04-13-2013 - 10:57am

But changes in our mental health system that depend less on the "personal responsibility" of people with anosognosia and more on outside observances are a firm step in the right direction

This is absurd. I read recently that 1 out of 4 people suffer some kind of mental illness, That's a pretty large population would you not agree? Personal responsibility/self control/working the programs most certainly do contribute to living well..... And back to the title of this thread, Death penalty for James Holmes. The man crossed the line and commited a crime, justice and fate will prevail. It's the excusing away mental illness that solves nothing.

 


 


iVillage Member
Registered: 12-17-2003
Fri, 04-12-2013 - 7:51am

Hey Nis, I just wanted to add, I only commented on your statement about forcing people with a " suspected" mental illness into therapy. And I admit, what came to my mind was various disorders and the rate of teen suicide. I believe most people will look back and see these red flags. But, as life is happening ... most don't. Most behaviors mimic what is age appropriate.

I also understand the complete frustration in the system. Even those that see the red flags in others, often cannot find the help the person needs due to privacy issues ... and really, it's that simple. People don't need a lecture of psychology to understand this.

But, people have rights, they really do. They even have the right to live with a mental illness. And, as I said, even once forced into treatment, maintaining that treatment is questionable in those they do not seek it or want it .... unless, of course, we go back to locking them up ... and why would we, if they pose such a little threat to themselves or society??

 

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-17-2003
Fri, 04-12-2013 - 7:38am

Not really any clearer Nis because you continue to repeat yourself and things people already know. Really? Of course people are aware only a trained professional can give a dx. Maybe you are not clear on what I am asking.

Assisted Outpatient Treatment has nothing to do with the undiagnosed, because the requirement is a non-compliance with treatment in the past.

Who said that it did?? .

Either way ...at some point, whether it's a change in behavior, or whatever, people need to get to professional to be dx ... you keep avoiding how this can be done without infringing on peoples personal freedom. No kidding, this system is based on personal responsibility ... how do we change ... "force" people into treatment without infringing on their own personal rights?

And again, you say anyone can notice a change in behavior, even if I buy that, you are not suggesting those closest to a person, force them into therapy every time they suspect something might be off due to a change in behavior?? I mean really, the reason people need a professional to dx is because most of the dx lies in a grey area of determining what is average and what is not .... so, no, I do not believe the average person can do this or even should do this.

Sorry, stating we should value input from non-clinicians is also nonproductive and history tells us this. I totally agree, it's very frustrating when a child turns 18 and the parent is no longer able to even make an appointment for their child, but again, lol, how do we force people into treatment without stepping on their rights and, even if we did .... how do you force people to contnue treatment?? ... is that clearer to you??

But changes in our mental health system that depend less on the "personal responsibility" of people with anosognosia and more on outside observances are a firm step in the right direction.

Just to be ultra clear. I completely disagree with you. As you stated, people in this condition pose very little harm to themselves or society so, what is your reasoning to force them into anything?? And two, as you stated, only a professional can understand the complex nature of such illnesses and therefore, that is why only a professional can dx.

Do you also believe people should be forced in other medical treatment as well?

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Tue, 04-09-2013 - 11:09am

you are coming from an angle of someone with a dx

Well, not precisely. I am coming from the angle of observable behaviors consistent with a diagnosis. Only a trained professional can give the label of a diagnosis. Anyone can notice a change in behavior or have a gut feeling that something is very wrong.

When that does happen, for the most part, nothing can be done. I think our so-called "system" needs to honor the observations of loved ones. That is beginnining to happen in my area. Most all evidence-based practices recommend getting input from people who are in a position to observe and note the changes in behavior.  However, it is not yet common practice.

That is the first phase that needs changing: valuing the input from non-clinicians.

Usually, something eventually gives and a diagnosable person will get forced treatment, or 72 hour hold or something. At that point that do then have a diagnosis.

how do we reach that point without infringing on people's freedom ... that is all people, even those without a mental illness

Assisted Outpatient Treatment has nothing to do with the undiagnosed, because the requirement is a non-compliance with treatment in the past.

I am the first to admit that mass killings by psychotic people are random, bizarre anomalies and there is not way to prevent them 100%. But changes in our mental health system that depend less on the "personal responsibility" of people with anosognosia and more on outside observances are a firm step in the right direction.

Any clearer?


iVillage Member
Registered: 12-17-2003
Tue, 04-09-2013 - 9:20am

But there are also a million reasons why the non-treatment since the 1960s is equally as bad.

Yes, but who is arguing this point? I asked a simple question. You are stating your beliefs over and over. I am just curious as to what the solution might be.

It seems to me that the choice is between locking them up for refusing treatment and treating them now, or locking them up for refusing treatment after they do something we all regret.

Yes, and again, I am not disputing that. Again, you are coming from an angle of someone with a dx .... how do we reach that point without infringing on people's freedom ... that is all people, even those without a mental illness. Or just leave out the freedom . How would one even come about dx potential and suspected mental illness within the entire population??

I get your position, I just don't think there's really much of a solution. I've read countless articles like that one you posted ... it's still not answering my question.

Also ... this article out and out states, those with a mental illness are no more likely to kill then someone without ... so, if anything, it's unclear how you think this will decrease situations as described in the OP. lol .... and this article is ... again, after the fact. Once we know there's a mental illness or a disorder, that is one thing ... how do we "force" people to that point? And with a dx, how do we "force" people into taking their medication??

Maybe horrible things just happen? Is there really a way to avoid it altogether ... idk.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-17-2003
Tue, 04-09-2013 - 9:07am

interesting

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Mon, 04-08-2013 - 2:27pm

No, you have not proposed in any way that the situation should be ignored.

However, continued resistance to innovative treatment strategies creates unnecessary hurdles, leaving us in the status quo. Sure - there are a million reasons why the asylums and treatments of the 1950s are bad. But there are also a million reasons why the non-treatment since the 1960s is equally as bad.

An article on assisted outpatient treatment:

http://articles.courant.com/2013-03-27/news/hc-ed-outpatient-commitment-20130327_1_outpatient-commitment-outpatient-commitment-laura-s-law

Recently the effectiveness of Laura's Law has been demonstrated.I think if states implemented Laura's Law, that would be a step in the right direction.

It seems to me that the choice is between locking them up for refusing treatment and treating them now, or locking them up for refusing treatment after they do something we all regret.

As it stands now those who need treatment severely enough to warrant assisted outpatient treatment live a life of homelessness, jail, and emergency rooms. Which is better homelessness/jail/ER along with its risk for violence and disease or forced medication?

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-17-2003
Mon, 04-08-2013 - 1:21pm

IMO, scenarios like this are relatively common. Complex, yes. Ignorable due to "personal freedom"? Nah.

Well, to say we ignore it, is quite the stretch. And again, afterthought is always worth it's weight in gold. But, I don't believe I suggested we ignore it. I simply asked how does one force treatment? And yes, I do believe personal freedom is important.

This is interesting example, but again, how does one force someone into the initial stages of treatment? If this person was already dx and refusing treatment .... again, you are coming from the position of already having a dx or some awful event occurring and then working your way down.

Either way, yes, I do believe in freedom. Sorry. Without looking back through my books and research, there was a time in history where people could be easily locked up and treatment was forced on them. I believe these facilities were shut down.

Another example, I see quite often, a woman takes her child to see a therapist. The child talks about night terrors. The therapist asks leading questions and decides the child is having hallucinations. Child then believes he does.Therapist tries to force child into treatment and additional testing based on this. Sorry, not very detailed, but this is something I see far too often. So, yeah, I do believe in personal freedom. If it weren't for personal freedom, I believe many people would be forced into unneccsary treatment through incompetant diagnosing.

SO again, I am not suggesting we ignore mental illness. Just kind of wondering who decides what and how one goes about forcing a person into treatment? As your example pointed out, this person refused treatment .... the only option would be to lock them up and force medication. Is there another option I just can't think of?

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Mon, 04-08-2013 - 10:34am

Newspaper quote from about a Massachusetts politician (Linsky) who has taken the lead in gun control:

Finally, in an effort to keep dangerously ill people from obtaining guns, Linsky’s bill would require applicants for licenses to waive their prerogatives under a federal medical-privacy law and disclose their mental-health providers. Gun owners complain that this would give the government broad discretion to limit licenses based on any health problem. And there should be a way to separate mental-health records from physical-health records. But closer scrutiny of those who seek access to guns is a principle that should appeal to all.

Linsky and and the newspapers assumption that mental illness and dangerousness are closely  linked goes completely unquestioned. He claims that he's studies that issue for decades, so I don't see how he can remain  so adamently prejudicial against those with mental illness. For me, its mind-boggling.

It is bizarre that in the name of maintaining potential gun owners right to bear arms, he would casually eliminate the right to privacy for a select group (mental illness). Additionally, getting parity for mental illness has been a long hard fought battle and he wants to undermine it based on a faulty premise. Argh.