Death Penalty for James Holmes?

Avatar for cmkristy
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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, 04-08-2013 - 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....

http://www.treatmentadvocacycenter.org/about-us/our-blog/69-no-state/2285-the-day-my-life-turned-upside-down-personally-speaking

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 - 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 - 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 - 9:24am

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.

http://www.treatmentadvocacycenter.org/about-us/our-blog/69-no-state/2276-research-mass-violence-fuels-stigma

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! http://www.nkm2.org/

Bring Change to MInd http://www.bringchange2mind.org/

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: 12-17-2003
Mon, 04-08-2013 - 7:30am

I could not read the article without a subscription.

I think that if we as a society were to say that we can not get treatment for people who believe that they are not sick, then I think that is more or less the equivalent of saying that there is nothing we can do nothing to deter Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, Aurora, etc in the future. The people who tend to commit these atrocities tend to need involuntary treatment.

Yes, but who is saying this? I am sure there are people who believe others shouldn't have access to treatment, but my question was how does one enforce and force individuals into treatment? We've already agreed the ones who need it, generally don't receive it ... voluntary. :)

Would we have fewer mass killings in the U.S. if we made sure that individuals with severe mental illnesses were receiving treatment? Examining the other 10 largest mass killings suggests that the answer is yes.

Well, I am not sure I can buy into this. Maybe in theory, but in reality .... idk. Would you happen to know the number of people, with a severe mental illness, that maintain their treatment?

So, IMO, that is just a silly statement. Of course, people who manage their illness will be less likely to commit this sort of crime, but again, who is to say they will? And again ... I am looking at real life here. Not dx backward, but your average person, going through life, starts to display what could be symptoms of a severe mental illness .... who decides this person should be forced into therapy and how does that infringe of their personal freedom?

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Mon, 04-08-2013 - 7:27am

The thing we can do something about is reaching out to legislators right now. They have also been duped by the media and want to keep there constituents happy. Nearly every gun control suggestion involves "background checks" which is a euphemism for "profiling people who have mental illness". They base it on the faulty assumption that violence=mental illness.

Mass murders have very little to do with every day violence. Some people seem to think that it is an extension of every day violence, but they are anomolies. Every day violence is a huge, huge problem.

Any mental illness is serious and by definition disruptive to every day life. Roughly 1 in 4 people will experience mental illness in their lifetime. It is as prevalent as cancer, diabetes or heart disease. Not surprising really - the brain is an organ.

Serious mental illness is a small percentage of overall mental illness. There is a small percentage of people within the seriously mentally ill, who, without treatment, tend to become violent in bizarre, media sensationalized ways.

So while agree that gun violence is a huge problem that we should address. I believe that treating mental illness is a completely different problem that we should address. Policies that link the two can only result in failure, IMO.

Avatar for jamblessedthree
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Registered: 10-23-2001
Sun, 04-07-2013 - 6:05pm

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

I don't agree, The media makes mega $$$  selling stories and in turn it creates copy cat stories and so on.  A popular debate is that we should treat mental illness like any other illness (from diabetes to cancer) but the reality is that mental illness is treated separate b/c we only look at mental illness as the Adam Lanzas or Andrea Yates or others that go bizerk!  The media is to blame for that.  We don't attach individual faces to cancer.  I believe society, general is softer and more sympathetic about other illlnesses b/c there is no negative publicity/attention attached to those like mental illness.  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. 

 

 

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Sat, 04-06-2013 - 5:26pm

just wondering how we can force people into therapy.

Although it is very complex, I think Fuller Torrey has done a good job of making a case for Assisted Outpatient Treatment and the criteria for access to it.

I think that if we as a society were to say that we can not get treatment for people who believe that they are not sick, then I think that is more or less the equivalent of saying that there is nothing we can do nothing to deter Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, Aurora, etc in the future. The people who tend to commit these atrocities tend to need involuntary treatment.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324407504578185361458883822.html

Would we have fewer mass killings in the U.S. if we made sure that individuals with severe mental illnesses were receiving treatment? Examining the other 10 largest mass killings suggests that the answer is yes.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-17-2003
Sat, 04-06-2013 - 4:41pm

I have no idea what the percentages are, but I would guess that most people with schizophrenia or bipolar are capable of seeking and finding help, too.

Isn't it ironic though? Those people - the ones who seek help - are not the people who go on to commit mass murder. Yet those people are the ones who are being profiled in the "background check" rhetoric of gun control. IMO, the background check rhetoric is simply a euphemism for scapegoating people with mental illness. I find it misguided, at best.

I can't really argue anything you've said. The topic of mental illness is far too broad to really discuss it properly in this format. Sure, many people are capable of finding and seeking help. I was commenting on your post about forcing people to do so. Who would decide this and under what criteria?

 It is not like major mental illness forms slowly over time beginning in childhood. It tends to come on suddenly (over weeks or months) in early adulthood. They are not likely to have been be the trouble-making kids in schools or on anybody's radar.

Yes, true, this is what I was thinking.

But they are, IMO, quite removed from every day gun violence and the "evil" that the commenters in the article were discussing.

Oh, I agree, again, just wondering how we can force people into therapy. Even if this were possible, mantaining therapy and treatment is another problem.