Sunday, July 17, 2011

Rethinking mental illness and crime

I have zero doubt that Levi Aaron does indeed suffer from severe mental illness. This condition was diagnosed well before his crime and he was medicated for it. We live in a society where it is rare that mentally ill people would be in supervised care for serious conditions. Prior to this he had committed no major crime that would have provided society with a basis for mandatory confinement.

The sole question should be did Aaron know what he was doing and the consequences of his actions. Aaron was certainly cognizant of the massive search and attempted to dispose of the body. This should infer that he was reality based enough to pay for his crimes with the death penalty. This should be waived to life in prison with no chance of parole, only if he pleads guilty and spares the family a trial.

The death penalty should be applied to all acts of premeditated murder. Aaron did plan this act and made plans for disposing the body. The victim was a special needs child making this crime even more heinous.

I have zero idea why a lawyer would want to touch this case. However, if one wanted publicity and to make a name, this case is an eye opener. The attorney is not well known but is a former NYPD police officer. My guess is that he is clever enough to negotiate before this comes to trial. The attorney is lucky in that his client is clearly slow of mind and will likely be advised to stay off the witness stand.

The normal yardsticks of legal wins and losses do not apply here. In one part we should be glad Aaron did not select Ron Kuby of the famed "Black Rage" defense and Lynne Stewart can not practice law. The idiotic Stewart is unlikely to have accepted
a generic mentally ill slacker with no political themes. I suppose if Kuby were handling this we would have been subjected to a long diatribe about society failing mentally disturbed types like Aaron.

The mental health defense is a smart legal tactic( but reprehensible) as a negotiating point for a plea deal. Unfortunately, I am familiar enough with the legal system to grasp that were I tasked with defending this wretch I would be doing
the same exact steps as the attorney.

I do respect a skilled attorney who uses the system. Their job is to represent their
clients and at least we are spared Ron Kuby's drama and diatribes.

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