The law is a lot of things to many people but one thing it is not is boring.
I've previously blogged about the Ed Thomas murder and the trial in Iowa of the accused Mark Becker. The jury is considering whether Becker is guilty of first-degree murder or is not guilty by reason of insanity. The testimony shown on the nightly news clearly demonstrated that Mark Becker was at least at the time of the killing, clinically insane. Legally insane is another story; that's for the jury to decide, but in my opinion the criminal defense met their burden of proof showing Becker didn't know right from wrong when he pulled the trigger. His mother and his psychiatrist's testimony clearly convinced me of that fact. While mother's love their sons this mother described behavior that no one could love.
Well the jury has the case; they are out, locked in deliberations and it appears they may be hung, likely a result of the insanity defense. I can almost hear the jurors arguing that they don't care if he is insane or what the law says they aren't going to take the chance he'll some day get out of prison. Are they scared for the safety of other people or just plain looking for vengeance for the Thomas'?
Technically, if the jury can't agree on a verdict a mistrial will be declared. The common phrase is a hung jury. Will the judge declare a mistrial? If he does at what point will he make the mistrial declaration? Law is great stuff for drama; it's conflict of the law in motion.
My hunch is the jury is deadlocked not over whether Becker is insane, because only an insane person would argue he's not insane. Instead the insane jurors are arguing over whether or not to follow the law. The "we know better than judges, lawyers and legislators" is a mentality equating to ignoring the law. It's what the Nazi's used pretty effectively that led up to mob mentality and World War II. I think Hitler was civilly insane and so do a lot of other people; but was he criminally insane?
Back in November 1998 a psychiatrist (Dr. Fritz Redlich) wrote the book, Hitler: Diagnosis of a Destructive Prophet". The book was the subject of a New York Times article took a look at this issue and concluded that Hitler's crimes and errors were not caused by illness.
Insane or Just Evil? A Psychiatrist Takes a New Look at Hitler, By ERICA GOODE Published: November 17, 1998
"Yet Dr. Redlich concludes that attaching a formal psychiatric diagnosis to the Nazi leader is not very useful. When applying such diagnoses, he writes, he often feels ''as if I were in a cheap clothing store: Nothing fits, and everything fits.'' Ultimately, the psychiatrist portrays Hitler as a man who was more than the sum of his pathology, entirely responsible for his actions.
Some have argued that any attempt to explain Hitler is wrong, because understanding inevitably breeds excuse. Dr. Redlich disagrees: ''I tried to put myself as far as I could into Hitler's shoes, to study him as a psychiatrist would study a forensic patient, to understand what makes him tick,'' he said. ''Empathy is not the same as sympathy.'' In fact, there is little possibility that in trying to fathom Hitler's actions this particular author could also forgive him. Dr. Redlich, 88, is himself an Austrian of Jewish descent, who trained in Vienna before the war and fled the Nazis for the United States in 1938. ''This book,'' he said, ''is in a way my answer to Hitler.'' "
If the jury is deliberating whether or not to follow the law then they are as insane as was Hitler. At times jurors just don't follow the law. Jurors pull the same shenanigans in civil trials; they ignore evidence and the judge's instructions. They will tell you not and some lawyers or judges can rationalize anything in terms of the law's flexible nature, but realistically they do sometimes go rouge. It's not right but they do. It kind of reminds me of that Alaskan woman wanting to be President so she can keep an eye on the Russians while sipping beer and shooting elk out her kitchen window.
In this case it's pretty obvious what's likely being discussed since the jury has already asked about the result of reaching a "legally insane" verdict. The Judge told them not to concern themselves with the sentencing aspects of the case. That's the role of judges in this system of justice - not a jury's. My guess is the Thomas family would yell and scream about justice not being done should they find Becker insane, but the Court's aren't about fairness they are about carrying out the law of the land. And the law isn't always fair: just like the land isn't always level. After all nothing can bring Ed Thomas back. Nothing will; not even Becker cooling his heels while sitting in Ft. Madison for the rest of his life. And if Becker was insane nothing can justify finding him guilty. Not even a disgruntled jury trying to rewrite the law.
If you're interested in this case see the blogs listed below:
... Ed Thomas shooting: More about suspect Mark Becker , June 24, 2009. Ed Thomas shooting: More about suspect Mark Becker, June 24, 2009. Includes mug shot, no. ... 101k
... While I'm sure no one can argue with the fact that Mr. Becker is obviously suffering from something, the question still remains why was Ed Thomas, the head ... 101k
... just last week a beloved high school football coach in Iowa, Ed Thomas, was shot and killed in the high school weight room by a former player, Mark Becker. ... 101k
... Mark Becker First Degree Murder Trial - Continues to produce testimony that will bring ... was insane at the time of the shooting of his former coach Ed Thomas. ... 101k
Post a comment
Post a Comment to "A Jury, Civil or Criminal, That Does Not Follow the Law is Insane"To reply to this message, enter your reply in the box labeled "Message", hit "Post Message."