Death Penalty for James Holmes?

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iVillage Member
Registered: 07-05-2005
Death Penalty for James Holmes?
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-

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, 04-08-2013 - 9:15am

who decides this person should be forced into therapy and how does that infringe of their personal freedom?

I am not saying that it is easy. I think the pendulum has swung so far in favor ot "personal freedom" that people who do not know they are mentally ill end out in prison or homeless. That is a tragedy - not freedom.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Mon, 04-08-2013 - 9:24am

And given that only a small populaton of mentally ill become violent there's no reason why the press should sensationalize mental illness the way they do IMO.

Absolutely! The media plays a big role in vilifying mental illness and exaggerating its link to dangerousness. There have been many conclusive studies about that phenomenon.

We don't attach individual faces to cancer.

But we do! The difference is that it is put in a positive light - Lance Armstrong, Roger Ebert, et al.

I really like the new campaigns by Glenn Close and Joe Pantoliano. Change is occuring - at a snail's pace, but it is occuring. I'd agree with you that the campaigns are not yet stomping out the stigma at the rate tha it is being created by the media.

No kidding, me too!

Bring Change to MInd

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Mon, 04-08-2013 - 9:41am

people who manage their illness will be less likely to commit this sort of crime, but again, who is to say they will?

Every politician who wants to make "background checks" a priority for gun control are making a statement that the "mentally ill" are more likely to be violent than people who have not sought mental health treatment. That assumption is completely unfounded, yet the media and politicians speak out as if it is truth. If the checks were for substance use (DUI, medical marijuana) or past violence (criminal check, CORI), then the checks would matter. Substance use and past violence are predictive of future violence. Having accessed mental health services is not.

Heck, if we value personal freedom, why wouldn't we only "background check" males becasue they are responsible for mass killings. Isn't it a violation of every females rights to background check their mental health because woman have nothing to do with mass killings? I say this tongue firmly in cheek. I do not think that women's mental health treatment history should be checked. I do not think anyone's mental health treatment history should be checked in order to buy a gun. I do not think mental health history has anything to do with the prevalence of violence in the US.

Singling out men not women makes a teeny bit of sense. Singling out the mentally ill vs those who have never sought mental health treatment is just plain silly. Both are violations of personal freedom and the right to privacy.

Many states currently have a background check of "involuntary" treatment for mental illness. I do not like it, however, since almost always involuntary treatment can only happen when the person is clear danger to themselves or others, I involuntary treatment check is not so much a mental health check as it is a dangerousness check.

As I have said, I do not think that a person should have to be an clear threat to themselves or others in order to get treatment, I do not think that involuntary treatment checks are a good idea.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Mon, 04-08-2013 - 9:57am

We've already agreed the ones who need it, generally don't receive it ... voluntary. :)

Sometimes I joke that the budgets for diabetes, heart disease and mental illness should be rotated on an annual basis. That way in one of every three years mental illness treatment and research would have a reasonable budget. :)

Having access to good mental health treatment is a such a no-brainer, but it does not exist extensively. [hmm to insert sad or angry face?] Assisted treatment is complex philosophically, but I think it is equally worthy and necessary..

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Mon, 04-08-2013 - 10:05am

The Day My Life Turned Upside-Down - Personally Speaking

(April 5, 2013) Six weeks ago, my life was turned upside-down in five minutes when my schizophrenic adult son killed my mother as she was eating breakfast.

Levi had never raised a hand in violence against me or against his grandparents, but for many months he had believed a hallucination that his grandmother had tried to kill him. He could not stop believing that she was evil, no matter what we said. His schizophrenic disease had been developing for many years, but we could not persuade him to accept medicine to treat it. Instead, he believed that he was an angel with alien cyborg parts. Without clear, imminent signs of violence, we could not force treatment....

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

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.

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 - 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:

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
Tue, 04-09-2013 - 9:07am


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.