Crime

Jared Lee Loughner Ruled Incompetent to Stand Trial

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Today a federal judge ruled that Jared Lee Loughner, accused of killing six people and wounding 13 others, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), at a Tucson shopping center in January, is incompetent to stand trial:

U.S. District Judge Larry Burns ruled that Loughner, 22, described by his own legal team as "gravely mentally ill," was incapable of understanding the proceedings against him and assisting in his own defense….

[Burns] ordered him sent back to the federal prison hospital in Missouri where the college dropout previously spent five weeks undergoing psychiatric evaluations.

Prosecutors had asked for that review in March, citing widely publicized accounts of erratic, paranoid behavior in the months before the shooting spree, including homemade videos posted on YouTube in which Loughner talks about mistrust of the government and mind control.

Reviewing the findings of the two experts who examined him, forensic psychiatrist Dr. Matthew Carroll and clinical psychologist Christina Pietz, the judge said both concluded Loughner suffers from schizophrenia, disordered thinking and delusions. Both experts agreed he was incapable of understanding the proceedings he faced, the judge said.

In January I discussed the related but distinct legal issue of whether Loughner was sane enough at the time of the attack to be held responsible for his actions.

More on the Tucson massacre here.

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192 responses to “Jared Lee Loughner Ruled Incompetent to Stand Trial

  1. schizophrenia, disordered thinking and delusions.

    I think we’ve just lucked into our new IMF head!

    1. Now hold on a minute, he may be schizophrenic, but does he know how to properly rape a country. I think we should stick with the concept of hiring people of the socialist persuasion, because no one does it better than they do.

  2. This thread should Szasztastic.

  3. I knew it! Being a rabid, gun-toting right-winger is a mental deficiency!

    1. I think they meant that Sarah Palin made him schizophrenic…

  4. For the love of god, I wish all media would replace this stock photo mugshot with anything else.. a frikin stick figure, ..something!!

    1. Hear hear! I complained about this months ago. Or at least make it smaller, fer chrissakes.

    2. I feel like he can see me.

  5. As he’s being locked into the electric chair they should just tell him they’re going to fix his brain so the government won’t be able to mind control him anymore.

    1. Uh, there’s no death penalty for someone ruled mentally ill.

      1. But it’s not the death penalty you see? They’re just trying to help.

      2. Unfortunately

        This wasn’t a “Duh George, I petted her and now she isn’t moving”

        He made and carried out plans to commit this crime. Should be all that is needed to find him competent to stand trial.

        1. He’s fucking schizophrenic. You do understand how much that fucks you up, right? Should he die for that? Or go to maximum security prison in the general population for life?

          1. He should become your slave. I mean you, personally. He’ll have one of those collars from The Running Man if he gets too close to you or exceeds certain defined parameters.

            1. No; that’s what I have planned for you, ProL.

              “Don’t lose your head.”

              1. My disembodied head will laugh when you say that.

          2. Compared to how many schizophrenic people don’t go on shooting rampages at the local strip mall? You’re right, let’s just give him a pass because he’s “sick”.

            1. A “pass”? WTF are you babbling about? Permanent institutionalization is a “pass”?

              I am continuously amazed by the repulsive bloodthirstiness displayed by supposed “libertarians” on these threads.

              1. Are you addressing me on this one? I’m not bloodthirsty. Not today, anyway.

              2. It’s admirable that you would maintain your position. However, like many others here I can’t feel sorry for someone who shot up a crowd of people and killed some of them. He wasn’t ripping the heads off teddy bears, he murdered other human beings. As I see it the best method of dealing with him is in a way his poor schizoid mind will understand.

                1. You clearly know nothing about schizophrenia and how sufferers view the world. He’s fucked up, not evil. He could improve with therapy and drugs. Killing him would be barbaric and pointless.

                  1. Not all sufferers of schizophrenia view the world the same way.

                    Would he improve with therapy and drugs enough to then be competent to stand trial for what he did? Should the populace be forced to pay for his cure? Is it only an outrage when cops and soldiers kill people?

                  2. What a fucking douchebag compassionate and comparing woman you are Episiarch. In anarchitopia he would’ve been killed on the spot.

                    1. comparing=”caring”

                    2. If anyone in that Safeway had been CCL he probably would have been killed on the spot, no anarchy necessary.

                  3. Most “sane” murderers are capable of refraining from murder in the future — that doesn’t mean we let them off the hook for what they’ve done.

              3. I am continuously amazed by the repulsive bloodthirstiness displayed by supposed “libertarians” on these threads.

                Not me. Hemoglobin gives me the shits.

            2. Most schizophrenic people are not dangerous. But, interestingly, a significant fraction of those that commit random violent acts are schizophrenic. And, interestingly, of those schizophrenics that do commit violent acts, most abuse drugs.

              Giving him a pass is not what this is about, of course. Do you think he has the ability to defend himself in court? If not, what is the solution?

              1. Did he have the ability to contest his institutionalization?

              2. We “put down” rabid dogs do we not? It is the same thing. The only difference is this dog walks on two legs. And you have to admit, Old Sparky will “fix” his brain.

          3. He’s fucking schizophrenic. You do understand how much that fucks you up, right? Should he die for that? Or go to maximum security prison in the general population for life?
            Loughner is responsible for his actions. He fucking shot 19 people and killed six, including a little girl as part of a planned political assassination.The POS should’ve been killed on the spot. Barring that he should be tried, convicted and executed for his crime. Now all we can do is pray he get’s shivved to death in the snakepit.

            1. And you of course do not fail to deliver with the expected bloodthirstiness. You’re a real tough guy, aren’t you. Why don’t you go to prison and shiv him, tough guy?

              1. Why don’t you suck my dick since you are being such a compassionate woman over this. You’re no anarchist. Note: my preferred and back-up outcome for Loughner would result from individual action–Not the State killing him. Although as long as we have a state they should do their fucking job and try, convict and kill a dangerous murdering son of a bitch.

                1. Only females are compassionate? Hokae. Also, I doubt any self-respecting woman would provide you the service you are requesting.

                  Also “You’re no anarchist.” = non sequitur.

                  1. A “compassionate man” would want to see Loughner dead.

              2. Episiarch, tonight…YOU

            2. Should he die for that?

              No you disingenuous dipshit. Nobody is proposing killing Loughner for being a schizophrenic. He should die for killing 6 people and injuring 13 in an act of premeditated malicious murder.

            3. Do you think he deserves a fair trial at least?

              If you want to entirely reject the validity of the insanity defense that’s one thing. But this “killing him on the spot” bit isn’t very libertarian, IMO.

              1. Depends which spot you’re talking about. If he’s still holding the gun, I would have no problem with someone splattering his brains all over the produce section.

              2. Life isn’t fair Hazel.

                1. Hey, you stupid cunt SIV, stop using the word “woman” as an insult to Episiarch. Call him a douchebag or something. You stupid fucking cunt.

                  1. I did call him a douchebag. It wasn’t strong enough. Perhaps I should have tried “cunt”. You seem to think it is effective.

                2. Life isn’t fair Hazel.

                  We have thinks like laws and courts and rights to make it more fair. At least fair in our dealings with other human beings.

                  Libertarianism is not anarchism. We believe in having laws, and we also believe that those laws should be enforced fairly, which entails providing defendents with jury trials, instead of executing them on the spot, amoung other thing.

              3. And the insanity defense isn’t the question here — it’s not whether he was capable of controlling his actions at the time of the crime, it’s whether he is capable of overseeing his defense in court and/or understanding the punishment if convicted.

          4. He is dangerous and should be put down like a mad dog. He wasn’t fucked up enough that he couldn’t plan a mass murder.

            1. He’s crazy, not retarded. It’s not like “go to place and shoot person” is a complex plan.

        2. Unfortunately

          This wasn’t a “Duh George, I petted her and now she isn’t moving”

          He made and carried out plans to commit this crime. Should be all that is needed to find him competent to stand trial.

          He’s not getting a pass on the crime—at least not yet—if he is latter found to have gotten enough better he can still stand trial.

          Then his attorney’s can try to claim insanity (at the time of the act) as a defense, but that runs on a slightly different standard.

          1. That’s quite 1984ish, no? Investing time to get your patient in the proper state of mind to be executed?

            1. As I recall exactly that happened recently, but this is a little different.

              He can’t stand trial right now because he is not able to understand the proceedings and assist in his own defense.

              When (if) that is remedied then he can stand trial and has all the usual choices: I never done nof’in; well, I did it but that’s ’cause I was crazy; and throwing himself on the mercy of the court.

              Only if he is then found guilty does the question of punishment come up.

              No idea how time spent in the funny farm counts towards time served.

              1. Yes, but there is the significant possibility (which is nearly a certainty in this case given the witnesses and severity of the crime) that a successful treatment will lead to his execution. Sorry, to my mind that’s perverse.

            2. Is it? It sounds like whether or not he’s sane at the time of the trial is a separate issue from whether he was sane at the time of the crime — the latter is an affirmative defense, while the former means that there can’t be meaningful due process, so he instead simply remains a ward of the state until he can be tried.

        3. He made and carried out plans to commit this crime. Should be all that is needed to find him competent to stand trial.

          That’s not what defines “innocent by reason of insanity” or incompetent to stand trial.

          IN the former, the person, planned or not, has to literally believe that their criminal actions were not wrong. This can be determined if the defendant attempted to cover up his crimes, showing consciousness that his actions were wrong– even if “he couldn’t help himself”. See: Jeffrey Dahmer.

          IN the ‘incompetent to stand trial’, my understanding is it simply means that the judge has determined that the defendant is incapable of understanding the charges leveled against him.

          1. So if I possess a kilo of cocaine and don’t believe it’s wrong, that means I can get off by reason of insanity?

            1. Don’t shoot the messenger. This was described in detail by a DA on a national program when people kept asking why Jeffrey Dahmer, who was clearly insane, didn’t get off by reason of insanity.

              The DA explained that the insanity defense is very narrow and is often misunderstood.

              It has to go along with a number of behavioral markers and combined evidence to show that the person truly had no idea what they were doing and made no efforts to conceal their actions. Psychiatric evals go along with that. In Jeffrey Dahmer’s specific case, he was going to great lengths to conceal his actions and the results, which informed the court that he was, despite his general crazy, aware that his actions were wrong.

              But to answer your question, yes, it’s possible, if a whole host of other factors, including a psych eval by the state showed that you were wandering around with a kilo of cocaine and had no conscious knowledge of your actions and the consequences, then yes, you’d be off by reason of insanity.

              1. Fucking DSK spoofing me!

      3. Uh, there’s no death penalty for someone ruled mentally ill.

        What’s stopping us from renditioning him to Pakistan and droning him?

    2. Speaking of electroconvulsive therapy …

  6. I disagree with Loughner’s decision to resort to violence, but I can sympathize with his perspective. His academic career, and therefore his long term future, got destroyed based on vague psychological accusations with no fair trial. Now, the judge is denying him a fair trial by invoking psychiatry. Psychiatrists are the new overlords.

    1. I must admit that I suspect this comment is parody, but I am unsure as it has too many melancholy overtones.

    2. His academic career (such as it was at a community college), was destroyed by his mental illness.
      Had he gotten on medication, had his parents prompted him to get medical help sooner, he might have gotten on anti-psychotic drugs and been fairly ok.

      He’s not just some guy with vague mental problems. Anyone who has any experience of schizophrenia and sees his youtube videos will recognize this.

      It’s not society branding him. It’s reality. Sorry.

      1. Hazel, “schizophrenia” is just a catch all diagnosis psychiatrists give to patients who don’t cooperate with them. Why do you have such faith in the industry that spent decades labeling homosexuality as a mental illness?

        1. Hazel, “schizophrenia” is just a catch all diagnosis psychiatrists give to patients who don’t cooperate with them.

          That is a very inaccurate statement. Very. You might be able to make that claim for a diagnosis of, let’s say, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, but Schizophrenia is not a “catch all” diagnosis by any means. In fact, research on the issue indicates that the average person with schizophrenia will be diagnosed 10 years after the onset of symptoms.

          1. Neu Mejican, look up the use of Zeprexia over the past two decades. It was only approved for “schizophrenia” at first. It later got an approval for use in “bi-polar”. Despite this, Eli Lilly advertised it to doctors for a wide range of off label usage. Their advertisement campaign emphasized the fact that Zyprexia makes disobedient patients more obedient. Basically, doctors give anti-psychotics to any defiant patients; then they label the patient “schizophrenic” to justify giving the anti-psychotic.

            As for the research on schizophrenia, it has given so many contradictory theories that it make the entire field of psychiatry look suspect. Half a century ago, the research claimed that schizophrenia was caused by the mother’s failure to display emotions. At what point to you dismiss a field of research as bogus?

            1. jtuf,

              Neu Mejican, look up the use of Zeprexia over the past two decades. It was only approved for “schizophrenia” at first. It later got an approval for use in “bi-polar”. Despite this, Eli Lilly advertised it to doctors for a wide range of off label usage.

              Okay. I assume you mean ZYPREXA (olanzapine). And your claim makes it different than other meds how? And that has what to do with diagnosis of schizophrenia?

              Their advertisement campaign emphasized the fact that Zyprexia makes disobedient patients more obedient. Basically, doctors give anti-psychotics to any defiant patients; then they label the patient “schizophrenic” to justify giving the anti-psychotic.

              I am sure that this behavior has occurred, but the MD(s) in question would be behaving outside the bounds of professional ethics and would be drummed out of the profession once caught. Your statement above was not about incompetent or unethical individuals, but about the standard practice of the entire field…and it was very inaccurate. Again, rather than schizophrenia being overdiagnosed, the research suggests that doctors are reticent to give the diagnosis as most patients have symptoms for a decade before a diagnosis is rendered. Schizophrenia is the opposite of a catch all diagnosis.

              As for the research on schizophrenia, it has given so many contradictory theories that it make the entire field of psychiatry look suspect. Half a century ago, the research claimed that schizophrenia was caused by the mother’s failure to display emotions. At what point to you dismiss a field of research as bogus?

              Perhaps when they stop rejecting old theories based on better more valid evidence and instead hold onto them despite progress? Criticism the behavior of the field in the 1950’s is hardly relevant without evidence that those practices continue today.

              1. I am sure that this behavior has occurred, but the MD(s) in question would be behaving outside the bounds of professional ethics and would be drummed out of the profession once caught.

                The practice was so widespread that psychiatric survivors got a settlement from Eli Lilly in a class action lawsuit. The MDs in question were never sued. Unfortunately, the MDs get let off the hook, because the pharmaceutical companies are more attractive targets due to their bigger pockets.

              2. Perhaps when they stop rejecting old theories based on better more valid evidence and instead hold onto them despite progress? Criticism the behavior of the field in the 1950’s is hardly relevant without evidence that those practices continue today.

                By this logic, the fundamentals of a field are non-falsifiable. It takes decades for evidence to accumulate. If you ignore any theory old enough to have evidence for or against it, you never check the validity of a field of research. It’s a bit like saying the modern phrenology is legitimate, because none of this years phrenology theories have been debunked.

  7. Palin made him schizophrenic.

  8. But doesn’t this fuck up the left narrative?

    1. Do you think that matters to them?

      1. Actually, a talented progressive operative can use this as win-win. They’ve already won on the “violent right wing extremists shoot congressmen” news cycle, now they can win on the “hateful, heartless Republicans deny proper psychiatric care to schizophrenics, thereby casing mass murders” news cycle.

        Similar to the way they spent the 70’s pontificating about how institutionalizing the mentally ill was an evil Republican plot, only to spend the 80’s pontificating about how throwing all of the mentally ill onto the streets and creating the homeless crisis was a plot of the heartless, evil Republicans.

        Or the way they spent the 80’s pontificating about how the lack of harsh penalties for crack cocaine a plot by the racist republicans to destroy minority communities, then spending the 90’s and 00’s lambasting the racist Republicans for using racist disparate sentencing rules for crack cocaine in a plot to destroy minority communities.

        Win/win baby!

        1. This.

          The teabaggers make people get teh crazy!

          It’s genius!

      2. Their narrative is what literary scholars call “stream of consciousness.” It follow no obvious plot or logical course.

        1. Their narrative is what literary scholars call “stream of consciousness.” It follow no obvious plot or logical course.

          It is really more like a mad-lib-eque writing game, where one person starts the story, folds over the page to leave only the last sentence exposed, and hands it to the next author, who does the same. It is not like there is a central clearing house where the plot-line gets approved.

          1. Mad-lib-esque, that is.

            1. Oh, no doubt. I think even the planned “narratives” usually run afoul of their original intent.

    2. But doesn’t this fuck up the left narrative?

      Which narrative would that be again? I have a hard time keeping track.

      1. See? Stream of consciousness.

  9. I thought Balko left for Huffpo.. Why is his photo accompanying this article?

    1. A little harsh, but I laughed.

  10. I think that Subways diet really screwed him up.

  11. Pfft, so now you can fake being schizophrenic to get out of paying for your crimes? Remind me to post some word-salad youtube videos if I ever decide to have a psychotic episode.

    1. Right, he’s “faking” it. Are you really this fucking bloodthirsty? Have you ever experienced a schizophrenic, or seen them in action? Do you know the first fucking thing you’re talking about?

      1. The issue with insanity is whether he knew what he was doing–in legal terms, whether he had the requisite intent to commit the crime.

        Frankly, I think most people who do things like this understand what they were doing and should be subject to prosecution.

        1. Do you really think this guy should be put in the general population of a maximum security prison? Won’t that essentially be a death sentence for him anyway–or someone else if he strikes first? Isn’t an institute for the criminally insane a better place for him?

          1. Obviously, I have no real knowledge of how crazy he is or isn’t. I’m just wary of opinions about sanity when it serves the interest of the defendant to be viewed as incompetent.

            Really, if a convict is dangerous, for whatever reason, he shouldn’t be allowed to endanger others, even other prisoners.

            1. Shouldn’t you, as a libertarian, always err on the side of giving the defendant more weapons to defend themselves against the state? Or is he already guilty?

              1. In this case the state is representing six dead people who can’t stand up for their rights anymore.

                As for his guilt, I don’t think there will be a Matlock-esque surprise witness coming forward to say someone else shot up all those people and poor Jared was framed.

                1. It’s interesting that you can say something so stupid after seeing all of Radley’s stories on wrongful convictions.

                  What, we shouldn’t trust the state…except for this case? What the fuck is wrong with you?

                  1. That’s a different issue, of course. The guy should be tried, and I’ll distrust the prosecutors all the way through. Like always.

                  2. “It’s interesting that you can say something so stupid after seeing all of Radley’s stories on wrongful convictions.”

                    Considering we’re talking about a crime that took place in front of a large crowd of witnesses, in which the alleged perpetrator was captured at the scene of the crime, then had the mental capacity to assert his Fifth Amendment rights when taken into custody, I would posit that the person who’s worried about a wrongful conviction is the one more deserving of psychiatric attention than the killer in question.

              2. This is dangerous both ways, you know. People found to be psychotic can, in effect, get locked up for very long periods of time without actually committing any crimes.

                I think I agree with the common law on this issue. If he meant to kill people and knows what that means, then he should be subject to the same punishment as someone who isn’t mentally unstable.

                Think this through a bit. What if he were just really pissed off at the time and would never do something like this again? Aren’t a good number of violent criminals people who went beyond what they’d normally do? Where do we draw the line?

                In an anarchist world, what would be done? I have a feeling that anyone dangerous like this would have to be killed, since anything like a prison system smacks too much of government.

                1. In an anarchist world, what would be done? I have a feeling that anyone dangerous like this would have to be killed, since anything like a prison system smacks too much of government.

                  And how would this be carried out? It is this very kind of issue that causes government to be an emergent property of anarchy. (~_^)

                  1. Which is the basis of my nonpizza-based dispute with Episiarch. I think some sort of government is inevitable, which is why I think attempting to contain it in a miniarchist bottle is the best approach. The bottle we used in 1789 wasn’t quite strong enough, clearly, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do better.

                    I fully acknowledge that we may not be able to stop the madness without robot/alien/divine overlords.

                  2. Anyone at the crime scene would be morally justified in killing Loughner on the spot.I think anyone related to one of his victims should have that right now.

                2. An anarchist solution would be dependent on the customs of the anarchist society in which it occurred. Neu is right that it’s shit like this that causes people to want to form government, because who wants to take responsibility for this guy? But of course, when you do form that government, the worst possible people gravitate to the positions of taking responsibility for this guy.

                  Which is why government is not the solution; it’s just the easy way to pass the buck.

                  1. One way or the other, we’re all agreed that someone who does something like this needs to be prevented from doing it again. He can be treated, but who is going to trust him out in society again? Maybe twenty years of sane behavior later, sure, but anytime soon?

                    Is crazy better than merely violent due to being raised in poor social conditions? This seems a dangerous path to take, when we are willing to allow people to not be accountable for their actions.

                    Insanity as a defense should be limited to cases where a person really doesn’t appreciate the consequences of his actions.

                    1. Loughner (or more correctly his assigned counsel) successfully pulled off an incomptetent to stand trial motion. If Loghner went to trial I wouldn’t expect he’d be acquitted on an Insanity plea.

                  2. I am with you until here:

                    But of course, when you do form that government, the worst possible people gravitate to the positions of taking responsibility for this guy.

                    Maybe, maybe not. As with any vocation both good and bad end up doing the job.

                    Which is why government is not the solution; it’s just the easy way to pass the buck.

                    Although there is a grain of truth to this in practice, I don’t think is always true. Particularly when all citizens are part of the process. Of course, the better the system work in that case, the easier it is for people to pull back from involvement and pass the buck to “those government officials who are just bad people anyway.”

                    The idea that

                    1. ignore the word salad…there’s a coherent argument buried in there somewhere.

                  3. An anarchist solution would be dependent on the customs of the anarchist society in which it occurred. Neu is right that it’s shit like this that causes people to want to form government

                    A society organized enough to have ‘enforceable customs’ is long past anarchy–it has a government.

                    In an anarchist society, the first person who felt seriously threatened by Loughner that had the ability to kill him, and the desire to do so, would simply have done it. Hopefully, he(Loughner) would have been thought dangerous enough by the time this happened that the person who killed him would be able to convince enough people to back him up should the lunatics family want revenge.

                    You people really don’t understand anarchy, do you? I bet you’re all into that voluntary collectivist sort of anarchy. Here’s a tip–if collectivism doesn’t work when there’s Soviet nukes backing it up, it’s not gonna work when there’s nothing backing it up.

                    A real anarchy will quickly devolve into government unless there’s a way to get rid of the situations that require government.

                3. In an anarchist world, what would be done? I have a feeling that anyone dangerous like this would have to be killed, since anything like a prison system smacks too much of government.

                  I imagine that in anarchist world his shenanigans would continue until he came up against someone who wasn’t squeamish.

                4. What if he were just really pissed off at the time and would never do something like this again? Aren’t a good number of violent criminals people who went beyond what they’d normally do? Where do we draw the line?

                  Well, a good place to draw the line might be if you are actually hallucinating and hearing voices, as opposed to just “really mad”.

                  I don’t get why nobody here (except Episarch) seems to understand the difference between an active schizophrenic and typical human irrationality.

                  1. I don’t get why nobody here (except Episarch) seems to understand the difference between an active schizophrenic and typical human irrationality.

                    No one? I think there are few who miss it (SIV et. al), but you paint with too broad a brush on that one.

          2. Yes, an institute! Because at 22 years old, spending the rest of his life there would be more humane and cost effective than just offing him.

            1. But it makes people feel better about themselves, and after all that’s what is really important!

              I think if the state wanted a trial they could have one.

            2. Oh, so there’s no difference between living a restricted life on medication, and being dead.

              It’s not about “feeling better”, it’s about respecting the dignity of a human life.

              Loughner has a disease, a very serious one. He’s not evil, he’s SICK.

              1. He’s not evil, he’s SICK.
                Mass murder is a symptom of what sickness exactly? Is there some reason he can’t be both evil and “sick”?

          3. Considering that he wounded and killed several people during a failed attempt to murder the person he planned to, the best place for him is the surface of Venus.

            Pardon me for having a hard time feeling sorry for him.

        2. I think most people who do things like this understand what they were doing and should be subject to prosecution.

          There is a real issue with this particular kind of crime. No sane person would plan and carry out the act, so by default the insanity plea is on the table. And yes, this includes the likes of Mohammed Atta and company. The very act itself calls into question the actors competence to distinguish between right and wrong. No easy answer for this one methinks.

          1. No sane person would plan and carry out the act

            Citation needed.

            1. Citation needed.

              None needed.
              It is a tautology.

              1. Neu you are not making sense. You really believe it is impossible for sane people to commit heinous acts?

                1. You really believe it is impossible for sane people to commit heinous acts?

                  In a sense, sure; depending upon your definitions of “heinous” and “sane,” of course.

                  1. depending upon your definitions of “heinous” and “sane,” of course.

                    Here we go with the flerking semantics again.

                    1. Here we go with the flerking semantics again.

                      Yeah, we’d hate to introduce “meaning” into a discussion. But try as we might questions of semantics creep in…

                      To quote one Tulpa:

                      “Depends which spot you’re talking about. “

          2. Legally, it’s all about mens rea. If he intended to commit the crime and carried out his intentions, he can be tried for committing it.

            In other words, just because someone is insane doesn’t mean they can’t be tried for a crime. In fact, I imagine a good number of murderers are insane in one way or the other.

            The idea was originally to avoid convicting people who were either mentally incapable of understanding what they were doing or so psychotic that they didn’t appreciate the consequences of their actions.

            1. The idea was originally to avoid convicting people who were either mentally incapable of understanding what they were doing or so psychotic that they didn’t appreciate the consequences of their actions.

              I know. I follow you. I am just saying that a person who truly understood the consequences of an act like this, arguably, would not carry it out. Once the crime itself is one that has face validity for a label of “shit, that’s fucking INSANE” the determination gets fuzzy real fast.

              1. If we define fucking crazy crimes as not-crimes, we may not like the results. What if Hitler had been captured alive? He was certainly nuts by our standards. But I don’t think he could have been deemed incompetent in the legal sense.

                1. I am just saying there isn’t going to be a black and white answer here. The issue of making a decision on the fuzzy border will always be in the forefront of cases like this where the crime is so far out of bounds.

                  1. Well, I’m not meaning to sound absolute on this. It’s a valid defense, but it’s one I’m dubious about in most cases. Not my call, and I hardly claim to know anything about the case.

                  2. I am just saying there isn’t going to be a black and white answer here.

                    When the question is whether you punish someone or not, there has to be a black-and-white answer.

                    1. I hate agreeing with you. Unfortunately, it happens often.

                    2. You may be a despicable anarcho-theist, but I find you strangely attractive anyway.

                    3. When the question is whether you punish someone or not, there has to be a black-and-white answer.

                      Nah. See the discussion on this thread about whether his staying in state custody during treatment is punishment or not. But, of course, when I say “here” I mean…in this discussion of this class of crime we are not going to get a black and white answer. It will always be answered on a case-by-case basis.

                2. Well, Hitler was still sane enough to lead a government. A typical schizophrenic is apparent to anyone. Remember that all of Loughner’s friends dropped him by the time he’d gotten crazy enough to commit the murders. Schizophrenics do not have followings of loyal subjects. They are generally pariahs because they’re just so fucking wierd that people are afraid of them.

              2. A crime can only be considered insane if the person knows that they will be caught and fears the punishment. If they do not fear the punishment then no crime is necessarily insane.

            2. Legally, it’s all about mens rea.

              We haven’t gotten that far yet.

              Before we can get to that question he has to be found competent to stand trial.

              That was denied today, but could happen at a latter date.

              1. Yes, you’re right, I did jump ahead.

                1. I see what Neu is getting at, and it is akin to a defense “theory” (that is crazy as hell and would never work) I have been formulating wherein the accused is exonerated because he has different standards of good and evil. That is, he knows the difference between right and wrong, but his definition of “right” is different from the rest of ours.

                  1. I see what Neu is getting at, and it is akin to a defense “theory” (that is crazy as hell and would never work) I have been formulating wherein the accused is exonerated because he has different standards of good and evil. That is, he knows the difference between right and wrong, but his definition of “right” is different from the rest of ours.

                    I think the Dahmer discussion above is more what I am talking about. You can’t commit the kind of crime he did with out the discussion automatically going to a determination of insanity. I think the standard used to convict Dahmer makes the right distinctions. FWIW, Jared Lee Loughner seems to have advertised his crime rather than attempting to conceal it, but I still think there is a good chance he would be convicted if treatment were to help him to the point that he was competent to stand trial.

            3. The idea was originally to avoid convicting people who were either mentally incapable of understanding what they were doing or so psychotic that they didn’t appreciate the consequences of their actions.

              I don’t see why it matters whether they appreciate the consequences of their actions. Everyone else can, which is the important thing.

        3. I agree with Pro Lib on this. If Loughner knew that killing people was wrong then he should be prosecuted for murder. I don’t believe in the death penalty, but he should spend the rest of his life in a prison hospital.

        4. If there is any room for the insanity defense anywhere, a raging barking at the moon schitzophrenic should be it. Which is what Loughner CLEARLY IS.

          The guy thought Giffords was controlling his brain with grammer, for God’s sake. If you think words are mind control weapons, then you are likely to react to court proceedings as if they were a plot to reorganize your DNA or something.
          A guy wandering around asking “what is government if words have no meaning” isn’t really going to respond to legal proceedings as if they were legal proceedings.

          1. @Hazel

            That, however, should not absolve him of the crime. Not competent shouldn’t mean not responsible.

            1. Personally, I think the punishment in these situations should be some years of treatment in a mental hospital (maybe not as many as for a sane person), followed by mandatory lifetime medication, monitored by the state.

              1. Sane people should get more “years of hospital treatment”? Or hospital treatment for schizophrenis is a judicial punishment for crimes?
                Mandatory drugging? By the state?

                In my Hit &Run;?

                1. Well, you’re suggesting mandatory imprisonment or death by the state. So really, what’s worse?

                  1. I actually suggested the ideal outcome would’ve been that he be killed on the spot. Now that the state has him I expect them to do their job.

          2. Words are used as mind control weapons. Words are used to shape beliefs. Propaganda is an assault on the mind. Language shapes society.

            Just because Loughner wandered an existential limb, possibly precipitated by use of hallucinogens, that doesn’t make him insane.

      2. So your solution is to lock up everyone labeled a schizophrenic? How libertarian of you. If we aren’t going to hold people responsible for their actions there is no sense in letting them run around endangering people.

    2. Do you really think that two psychiatrists, including the government’s own legal team can’t tell whether he is faking it or not?

      1. lol

        So all those schizophrenics in prison ARE faking it.Mental illness is not a “pass” except when the government wants it to be.

        1. Hah. Do you seriously believe that the governments own legal team would have found him mentally incompetent if there was ANY grounds for holding otherwise?

          He shot a judge and a congresswoman. They were undoubtably under enormous pressure to find him competent, not the other way around.

          He’s obviously so barking at the moon crazy that they had no other choice.

          1. A trial wouldn’t look good for them . With the “incompetent to stand” ruling they can lock him up indefinitely anyways.I don’t see locking him up without a trial as more moral.It would be better if Loughner was legally ruled “not guilty by reason of insanity”, although that would be very unlikely.

  12. Coincidentally, Fort Hood shooter Major Nidal Malik Hasan has also been ruled incompetent to stand trial.

    Naah, just kidding, I made that up. Justice for the Fort Hood victims is still being stalled after more than a year and a half by the Obama administration, because he didn’t kill anyone deemed important enough to matter by the “elites”.

  13. … write a blog, attend school, obtain and use a weapon, ….?

  14. I think Episiarch is right for the wrong reasons, and the rest of you need to understand what it means to be competent in a legal sense.

    1. Others need to understand that, mental faculties notwithstanding, there are consequences to actions.

      How about we get rid of the courts and let the families of the victims determine how best to deal with him. Wouldn’t that be the best libertarian standpoint, take the state out of it?

      1. Wouldn’t that be the best libertarian standpoint, take the state out of it?

        That doesn’t seem libertarian to me…what was the role of the state in libertarian philosophy again?

        1. I guess you’re right. Lets call it the best anarchist standpoint then. I know there are enough anarchists here, some of them currently sticking up for Loughner.

        2. Protecting the rights of defendents for one thing….

      2. Libertarianism =/= Mob rule

        1. Apparently it depends in whom you ask. Same goes for anarchy.

      3. No — the victims are not the people to be determining punishment: death row would be filled with people who pushed “my sweet little Jimmy in the mud puddle”.

      4. That would be the ideal situation in a civilized society.

      5. You’re not taking the state out of it at all. Who is guaranteeing that the victims’ families will be able to do as they wish to the accused?

        1. No one is guaranteeing it. In this case I doubt anyone in Loughner’s family could prevent everyone in his many victim’s families from exacting “justice”.

          1. Yes, but there are plenty of other cases where the family of the victim will not be strong enough to exact revenge in an anarchic system…particularly if the aggressor has strong family and/or friends.

            1. Life isn’t fair Tulpa.Of course in a vendetta killing the offspring is even better than killing the aggressor himself. Strong families produce lots of targets.

              1. Well isn’t that a nice way to live.

    2. I understand the legal definition; I just don’t think competence should be relevant.

  15. Thought experiment: Loughner stays in a mental institution for 20-30 years, at which time a proven cure for schizophrenia becomes widely available and is applied to him at his request. what happens:
    A) he is then tried for this crime as if nothing had happened in the intervening time
    B) he is exonerated based on his illness
    C) would a new legal procedure be required to determine culpability of the cured individual?
    D) something else?

    1. Good question, which illustrates the bizarre consequences of requiring competence to stand trial.

    2. At that point, he takes the cure, and becomes competent to stand trial. At trial, he then probably pleads not guilty by reason of insanity. Considering he was insane enough to spend the last 20-30 years locked up, I think he probably wins.

      1. Not competent to stand trial does not mean he was legally insane at the time the acts were committed. “Mental illness” is not insanity.

        1. Go right ahead and argue that at his trial. Considering how Arizona has cabined the insanity defense, as I’ve shown in a post below, you probably will win, if you can show he knew right from wrong. Despite the fact that, if the insanity defense was meant for anybody, it was meant for a crazy SOB like Loughner. He’s not faking it. This guy’s fucking crazy and he has been for a pretty long time. You might be honest, and get rid of the insanity defense, as MT, ID, KS, and UT have done, rather than try to claim that it shouldn’t apply to this guy. Moreover, in a world with db‘s hypothetical cure, you’d be killing someone who never would have shot those people in the first place.

          I strongly would have preferred that some CHL holder would have killed him during his rampage. Since that didn’t happen, the taxpayers of AZ get to pay whatever it costs to keep his ass in a state hospital for the rest of his life now, which will be what? 50 years X $60k per year? $3 million dollars? Lovely.

          We do shoot rabid dogs. Mainly, because they won’t get any better and they’re a constant threat to those around them. I’ve no problem with classifying Loughner that way now. But with a 100% cure for schizophrenia, he’s no longer rabid. He’s not going to hurt anyone else. And killing him once he’s cured won’t bring those people back that he killed.

  16. I’m with Episarch on this one. I know something about schizophrenia, and it’s not just something that people compartmentalize. You aren’t just schizo about your grammer control conspiracy theories, like an ordinary paranoid. It’s a total brain disease. You should read some accounts from actual schizophrenics about what it is like.

    Here’s an example:
    http://schizophreniadiaries.co…..hosen-one/

    I had just watched the movie The Recruit. I decided to apply to work for the C.I.A.. In doing so I had included within a sentence about killing them if they did not hire me. Crazy huh? Well I started freaking out, after all I just threatened to kill the CIA.

    For days I couldn’t sleep. I was afraid the feds were gonna come arrest me as an enemy combatant, no habeas corpus thanks to the evil patriot act. I started hearing voices. There were noises in my attic. There was knocking on my front door, with no one there. I saw my shadow at night moving independently of myself like peter pan’s. The tv began talking to me. The radio was playing songs just for me, everything threatening me. I heard people talking about me over a walkie talkie I had. I was watching The Matrix over and over again, as well as X-men 2. I was convinced I was the one, like Neo, like anakin skywalker. A superhuman mutant who could speak to the dead.

    One night my tv convinced me that I was to meet with my CIA recruiter finally. I wandered around for hours expecting to meet with Donald Rumsfield. I was walking around in a thick forest with no flash light. I wasn’t sure if he was going to kill me or not. I went back home. Consulted my talking television one more time. This time it told me exactly where to go. I made a run for it. I remember throwing up as I walked to this strangers house. When I reached the rendezvous point the street lamp began flickering on and off rapidly. Then this man across the street lit off some illegal fireworks with a strobe flash too. Bingo, this stranger, this man, was my CIA recruiter.

    I walked up to him and joked about the illegal fireworks and he asked me if I was a cop. I joked again that I was indeed a cop winking at him knowingly. He asked to see my badge. Not having one I pulled a 25 cent piece out of my pocket as my badge. He freaked out and told me to get the bleep off his property. I thought he was just testing me. So I refused. He grabbed a baseball bat and once again demanded I leave his property. I stood firm winking at him the whole time. He called the cops

    They showed up in force, pointing guns at me. I was arrested for criminal trespass and impersonating a cop. I still was convinced that this was all a test, like in the recruit when they put him in jail to try and break him. Jail, just part of the initiation process to make sure I could keep my mouth shut. And keep my mouth shut is what i did. I didn’t say a word to the cops. I didn’t even speak when they booked me. I was totally non-compliant. I was thrown in a isolation cell for 7 days. It was hell. I refused to go with the program. I was convinced I was the chosen one, after all the voices in jail were telling me that. I believed I was the Manchurian candidate. That I was a robot built by the Chinese, that it was really the year 2500. I was to be the leader of the army of the dead to destroy George W. Bush for his wicked ways. And bring peace to the galaxy. ha ha. I was terrified I thought now that the CIA was evil and were trying to infiltrate the jail and assassinate me, before I could assassinate you know who.

    1. Now, a guy who thinks that the entire trial is a giant “test” by the Galatic CIA mutant army, to see if he’s fit to be recruited, is NOT GOING TO UNDERSTAND what the hell is actually going on in that courtroom.

      1. So what? The trial isn’t for the benefit of the defendant, it’s for the benefit of society and the rule of law.

        1. It’s for both.

        2. Ok, so could the rule of law be served by getting this guy on medication, requiring a period of treatment in a psychiatric hospital, and following that by lifelong monitoring to ensure he stays on his meds?

          1. Loughner is a mass murderer. He killed a small child. He should die but I can’t think of any scenario in which he’ll be outside a locked high security institution.

          2. Not until he’s actually tried, it couldn’t. This is not an acquittal. He still has to answer for his crimes. Until he’s capable of that, he has to stay put in the asylum.

    2. Wow, that’s some wacky stuff. Not sure what it has to do with anything here though.

      Plenty of gang related killings involve murderers with seriously fucked up histories and even more fucked up motivations — does that absolve them too?

  17. Wasn’t this an episode of Law & Order: Los Angeles a few weeks ago?

  18. both concluded Loughner suffers from schizophrenia, disordered thinking and delusions. Both experts agreed he was incapable of understanding the proceedings he faced, the judge said.

    Sounds like a candidate for the Senate.

  19. He’s fucked up, not evil. He could improve with therapy and drugs.

    And THEN we kill him, right?

  20. Do not confuse incompetency to stand trial with insanity. The former indicates an inability to assist with one’s own defense, whereas the latter implies the inability to appreciate the consequences of one’s actions. Moreover, insanity is an affirmative defense, i.e. something presented at trial to explain one’s actions.

    1. That’s just what I was about to say. I’d also add: incompetency to stand trial merely means he can’t be tried for his crimes right now. It’s not the same thing as saying he won’t be tried for them eventually. If he ever gets mentally competent to stand trial, then he has to stand trial.

      Of course, if he never does get mentally competent again, he spends the rest of his life in a ward for the criminally insane, and no parole board of bleeding hearts to feel sorry for him and let him out to kill again. Really, if you were a criminal, faking insanity in order to get out of standing trial for your crimes would be one of the stupidest things you could do.

      For that matter, standing trial and then making an insanity defense would also be pretty stupid if you weren’t truly insane: it’s getting well-nigh impossible to fool the MRI and CAT scans they’ll run on you, and if you’re not faking, there aren’t really very many known cures for what ails you. It’s back to the asylum you go, and again you get no parole board filled with bleeding hearts to let you out, and very little chance that you’ll ever get well.

      I despise all the political hay commie fascists like Dupnik & Co. have been making of this vaguely left-wing nutjob’s crimes, but as for the nutjob himself, I’m confident he’s not going anywhere any time soon.

      1. Admittedly, Southerner, life in a ward for the criminally insane beats being strapped to a gurney with a needle in your arm, and however many years in death row segregation before that. But I agree with the vast majority of what you wrote.

        I’m still annoyed that the Feds got first, and seemingly only, crack at him. This idea that one dead judge trumps the deaths of five little people displeases me greatly. Like Arizona wasn’t going to be able to find him able to stand trial and guilty as sin in state court… Texas did it for Andrea Yates, after all (for a little while, anyway.)

        1. Well, I’m not the big legal expert here, but how is it at all possible that the feds having a go at him excludes the state making a case against him as well? When a guy murders somebody, the state always lets family and friends of the victim pursue their own civil case against him in addition to the state’s case. I don’t see how having the feds pursue their case against him can legally preclude the state’s also trying him for the murder of all the other victims, and those families pursuing their cases as well. Everybody’s going to want a shot at him, and I can’t imagine any prosecutor’s going to let any chance to ply his trade in any of these cases escape him.

          Yes, I suppose a mental ward for the criminally insane is probably a bit nicer than death row, but the fact is you do have to be pretty insane to be there, which is a form of suffering unto itself. Also, with all the bureaucratic obstruction and rounds of appeals from bleeding hearts, it takes a long time to get someone on death row to the last mile anyway, so what difference does it make, really, if there’s any delay now? Either Loughner is truly bonkers and he’s committed for life, or he’s guilty as hell and off to Death Row he goes.

  21. I am just saying that a person who truly understood the consequences of an act like this, arguably, would not carry it out. Once the crime itself is one that has face validity for a label of “shit, that’s fucking INSANE” the determination gets fuzzy real fast.

    I think your failing to recognize the distinction between the sort of crazy meaning “irrational” or “not thinking straight”, and what it means to be schizophrenic.

    Lot’s of people do things that other people regard as “crazy”, because they do not make rational or moral sense to the rest of society.

    But most of those people do not live their entire lives in fantasy worlds that their brains have constructed out of misfiring neurons. Most of those people do not walk around all day believing they’ve got superpowers, or that the government has implanted chips, or start taking orders from their dog.

    1. Most of those people do not walk around all day believing they’ve got superpowers, or that the government has implanted chips, or start taking orders from their dog.

      Except for the police.

  22. Since we’re in Arizona, and presumably the Feds are going to use Arizona criminal law to ring up Loughner, to use an insanity defense at trial, Loughner’s going to have to show that he didn’t know right from wrong at the time of the murders. A decent analysis of Arizona’s insanity defense can be found in the SCOTUS case, Clark v. Arizona, 548 U.S. 735 (2006). http://supreme.vlex.com/vid/clark-v-arizona-320640

    Under current Arizona law, a defendant will not be adjudged insane unless he demonstrates that at the time of the crime, he was afflicted with a mental disease or defect of such severity that he did not know the criminal act was wrong. Pp. 6-7.

    Note, this is even tighter than the original M’Naghten test—which was already one of the more difficult tests out there for eligibility for the insanity defense—which allowed a defendant to claim the defense if “the mental defect leaves a defendant unable to understand what he was doing.”

    So if the Feds can show that Loughner knew that what he was doing was wrong, away he goes, regardless of what crazy shit he believed about grammar as he was pulling the trigger. Whether it’s a cruel and unusual violation to give the death penalty to an insane defendant is another question.

    1. That’s if he ever gets to trial. For now, it’s off to the funny farm he goes, and no time off for good behavior.

  23. I had no idea there were so many qualified psychiatrists opining here.

    1. We’re discussing a legal matter woman.
      “Qualified psychiatrist” is an oxymoron anyways.

    2. What, you stopped using your space as a handle because everyone incif’d your little passive-aggressive spussy ass?

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