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Unread July 20th, 2004, 01:38 PM
William Reid William Reid is offline
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Location: Texas
Posts: 105
Default Re: Criminal Responsibility/Death Penalty

"Doesn't this then follow that the death penalty itself is a crime? Accepting the fact the governments do carry out the death penalty and that laws embedded in their constitutions allow for this, isn't there a question of duality here?"
Without getting into a philosophical discussion, I think the answer is (technically at least) no. "Murder" is a crime; "killing" isn't necessarily a crime." Crimes are defined by the people who make the laws. If a state or country authorized execution under some circumstances (e.g., by the state, after due process, in response to certain murders) then the execution, by definition, doesn't fall into the category of "crime." And one must remember that the law that is relevant is that state's/country's law, and not some other country's laws or views. (That is, a death penalty opponent from, say, the U.K. really can't say an execution done in another country is "illegal" solely because it is illegal in the U.K., no matter how he/she may define it philosophically.)

Some important issues for clinicians, though, have to do with the ethics of practicing in ways that may be counter to their mores. Most major clinical organizations in the U.S. (AMA, both APAs, NASW, etc.) have organization rules about participating in executions, sometimes even indirectly (i.e., within their codes of ethics, which apply to their members but no one else). That concerns many clinicians, no matter what they think about the death penalty in the abstract, when they are asked to do things like evaluate or treat a person on death row, participate in a competency process for such people, or even get involved in trials in which the person may possibly be sentenced to death if found guilty.
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Unread July 25th, 2004, 11:23 AM
aikanae aikanae is offline
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 3
Default Re: Criminal Reponsibility/Filicide

i've also been intriqued by the Yeates case. if i recall correctly, her husband did pursue charges in another trial against her psychatrist and health insurance company after she was sentanced. his claim was that he 'did everything right' in requesting her to be re-hospitalized, or be put back on her anti-psychotic medication (dropped a month earlier). he'd followed through with an appeal, been denied, and told there was nothing more he could do, when he'd visited the psychatrist's office earlier the same week.

her instability was the reason his mother was staying with them, to watch and help care for thier kids, as needed. his mother stepped out to the grocery that day, since she seemed in good spirits and had been doing 'better' (they figured out, later, she'd probably had made 'the decision' by then - giving her a sense of relief).

her husband wanted to make a point out of thier case, in court, specifically about managed care companies choosing the bottom line over patient care - releasing her too soon and withdrawing needed medication. the appeal and reconsideration process he went through, were nothing more than a rubber-stamp procedure, and his reports about her behavior disintegrating weren't considered by either one of them. i don't recall if the insurance had a lifetime limit on behavioral health or not. i seem to remember something about 'limits'.

instead, he ended up settling out of court for an undisclosed amount of money - and a gag order preventing him from talking about the case. all the charges were dropped.

i was very interested in seeing how this case would play out in court. there was also a number of speculations about his behavior in thier relationship contributing to her mental status. about a year later, i'd heard they'd gotten a divorce.

when she was put back on her medication (that the psychatrist had taken her off of) she seemed fully aware and remorseful about what she'd done. i think she would have preffered death vs a life sentance.
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Unread July 25th, 2004, 05:57 PM
Da Friendly Puter Tech Da Friendly Puter Tech is offline
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 60
Unhappy Re: Criminal Reponsibility/Filicide

What a testament to our system.

Woman is mentally ill. Woman cant get adequate care. Woman kills her children. Woman is thrown in jail.

Maybe Doctors get a slap on the wrist - we dont know. Although if they had done their job this wouldnt have happened. The doctors probably continue to practice, although if I was in their shoes I would feel so much guilt I dont think I could. And if they dont feel the guilt what does that say about their ability to feel remorse?

Managed care companies get a slap on the wrist, and runs of to do it again. Its just cheaper that way. Money is involved, so I am not even gonna comment on "ability to feel remorse".

Personally, I think the decision makers of the managed care companies belong in prison with a life time sentence.

Mental health professionals, and students like myself, sits by and watch it all happening, and we dont do anything to make the system right. Where do we belong?

Da Friendly Puter Tech
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Unread July 27th, 2004, 07:29 AM
loftus75 loftus75 is offline
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 19
Default Re: Criminal Reponsibility/Filicide

Without getting into a philosophical discussion, I think the answer is (technically at least) no. "Murder" is a crime; "killing" isn't necessarily a crime." Crimes are defined by the people who make the laws

I take your point that what determines a crime is a social construct. However, (and I freely admit I'm not fully certain of this), I seem to have a vague memory that the United Nations have covered this in the laws concerning human rights. The prisoners have rights which include they should not be exposed to cruel and unnatural punishments, or something along this line. I realise these declarations can be defined to some extent by governments own standards. I also accept there is a high degree of vagueness in these proclamations. To this extent don't governments give up a certain level of sovereignty when they sign up to agreements that standardize crime and punishment? And if this is the case, aren't governments that initiate a system of death penalty which prolongs the life of accused though a series of appeals failing in the agreement?

I believe this to be particularly pertinent at the moment considering the USA's activities on an island off of Cuba, where closed courts may issue the death penalty. I should add that my concern here is not the circumstances of the event, but rather the application of the US constitution and the UN Laws on Human rights, here I would suggest there are violations of these articles already and will be compounded by the application of the death penalty.

I will understand if no one wants to touch this last point as it is a highly emotive and sensitive issue at the moment.

(That is, a death penalty opponent from, say, the U.K. really can't say an execution done in another country is "illegal" solely because it is illegal in the U.K., no matter how he/she may define it philosophically.)
This is not strictly true and is illustrated in the extradition laws between the USA and the UK. The UK will not allow extradition to any State, including those States in the USA, where the death penalty is used. To this extent some legal system's effected in one country override the legal system of another. This goes beyond a philosophical issue.
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