[LMB] OT: Mental Health & Yeats trial

Bart Kemper bkemper at bigdogz.com
Wed, 27 Feb 2002 11:01:02 -0600

 > Subject: Re: [LMB] OT: Mental Health & the Yeats trial From:
 > Mark Atwood <mra at pobox.com> Date: 27 Feb 2002 02:12:48 -0800
 > Reply-To: lois-bujold at lists.herald.co.uk Stephen Nelson
 > <snelson134 at charter.net> writes:
 >> The husband, from all the evidence I've seen, needs to be charged
 >>  as an accessory at the least.
 > It's a good thing we dont have "Trial By Media" yet then, isn't
 > it?

We *do* have trial by media.  The fact that most people had a firm 
opinion of the OJ Trial before the totality of the evidence was even 
shown (and in many cases, before ANY evidence was shown), that many 
have made similar decisions about the Robert Blake case, that most 
of the Clinton stuff was tried in the media prior to presentation of 
evidence (one side or the other leaked it or did pre-emptive 
strikes) are recent examples, but its nothing new.  This is 
regardless of whether the person was judged 'guilty' or 
'innocent'....the point was is the public made the call before the 
courts did. It is the flip-side to the 'secret trials' that occur 
elsewhere 'to protect the accused and the case from outside 
influence.'  The purpose of a public trial *is* to have public 
scrutiny.  The flip side is that the public can damn or redeem 
someone regardless of the facts (some carpenter's son got hung on a 
tree 2000 years ago the same way, nothing new)....but it was 
determined at the founding of the US it was preferable than the 
drumhead trials, secret indictments, summary seizures, and other 
means the British gov't at the time used to protect its citizens and 

Part of the function a trial serves is to put the facts before the 
people and give them a chance to give a crap or not.  There are 
(rare) times a DA will put someone on trial just so they can 
lose....that there is so much public outcry from one side that there 
has to be the fair day in court to allow the defendent prove their 
innocence....it won't satisfy everyone, but the reason we have 
procedures is to take out the subjective issues that can really 
screw things up in the long run.  In this case, there was a huge 
outcry to try Yeats.  The people speak.  Public servants answered.

Please note, even on this list, there are pronoucements of "she 
should be xxxxxxxx" or "he should be yyyyyyyyyyy", even without 
having the full data available.  We tend to be more thoughtful and 
deliberate that the general population.  Few people really want 
justice as measured by a full assessment of the facts and a balanced 
view (unless its their butt in the dock), they just want 'the right 
decisions NOW'....but we tend to leave that to the grinding process 
of the courts.  For all the faults in the system, its still a better 
deal than the alternatives of secret trials, vigalantes, or citizen 
commissions (cuz we don't need anyone to tell us the law, we all 
know what the law is, right?)

Personally, I'm satisfied she's sick and not criminally responsible, 
and from my limited knowledge I am *most* angry at the health care 
professionals who took her off her meds, not to mention released her 
on her own recog without any warnings to the family.  I think the 
father screwed up, but he *did* get her help and *did* follow 
medical advice...and I'm hard pressed to expect a lay person to be 
able to second-guess specialists, especially when its about his wife 
and he has a firm desire to see her as the women he used to know, 
not quite seeing the person she might be on a given day.  She wasn't 
telling people the thoughts in her head(s)...so sure, it sounds 
horrible to hear her thoughts NOW, but its not like they were being 
trascribed telepathically and published for all those around her to 
evaluate her.

I can't think of a worse punishment than to disassociate from 
yourself, kill your children, and then come back to yourself to find 
out you did that.  *THAT* boggles my mind.  And I can't imagine a 
worse punishment than trusting medical professionals and being the 
spouse on this.  There is enough blood on this case.  Just speaking 
for me, I don't need to call for any more.