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Mental illness as a criminal defense

Discussion in 'General Open/Public Discussion' started by Abia, 22 Mar 2006.

  1. Charges dropped against teacher who slept with 14 year old student.

    Some of you may have heard about this. This is the story of a teacher who was being charged with sleeping with her 14 year old student. She's claiming it's not her fault, she's bipolar.

    I'm wondering what ya'll think of this idea of "It's not my fault, I'm (insert mental illness here)"

    I strongly believe that some people do things because they are mentally ill...however, bipolar disorder is such a hard thing to diagnose that to use it as an excuse for misbehaving in many cases is just outlandish.

    This particular case hits really close to home with me. My oldest two children haven't been paid child support and are owed over $15k (for two children over 6 years). Their mother was recently taken back to court brought up on charges of contempt of court for failure to pay a child support order. She's claiming it's not her fault, she's bipolar. The courts have given her another 30 days to prove she's bipolar and provide a letter from a phsycologist (sp) stating such.

    Again, I'm not saying that the disorder doesn't exist, what I'm saying is this:

    Is it a legitimate defense for criminal activity?
  2. Om

    Om DragonWolf

    I had a bipolar child in my pottery class once. Yes, it is.

    Unfortunately if it becomes a common way to win lawsuits, bipolar people will no longer be able to find work.
  3. Hamma

    Hamma Commanding Officer Officer

    This adds nothing to the discussion but. I wish I had a teacher like that in HS.


  4. This is just my point though...most mental illnesses are controllable with medication. This woman is claiming it's not her fault she screwed a 14 year old boy on several occaisions because she has a mental disorder, which by the way wasn't diagnosed till after she got caught.

    Same with the ex. She's claiming she can't get a job because she's bipolar...it's not her fault. Kinda funny though, I know others with bipolar who hold down jobs and raise their kids just fine.

    I personally think it's a load of crap and a cop out. If they start letting people get away with it's not my fault, I was just diagnosed with bipolar disorder so that must be why I killed, raped, etc...I will literally write letters to every judge who allowed it, and make them wish they hadn't.

    Yes, bipolar disorder is a very real mental illness...one which is treatable and not at all, by any stretch of the imagination worthy of being a court defense. And if you're so mentall ill that you can't control yourself, then you need to seek help and be in a hospital under constant supervision till your meds are equalized to the point where you can re-enter society as a productive member.
  5. Haha, alot of boys are saying this very thing this morning!
  6. Om

    Om DragonWolf

    Abia, if you've not had the opportunity to spend time with a bipolar person, let me share with you what I observed in this 5-year-old. I had no warning from the parent about what to expect, btw. I later found out this child had to be physically removed from the building in previous classes she had taken at the art center.

    I had this child for hour-and-a-half sessions once per week for 3 weeks. I was discussing her behavior with one fo the other instructors who suggested she might be bi-polar and I read up on it.

    The first week's class was a happy day:
    She came in all smiles, introduced herself to everyone and was very friendly, perhaps a little on the pushy side with the friendliness among the children who were more shy, but likable and charismatic.

    A couple of times within the hour and a half of class she seemed to have these spikes of what appeared to be absolute ecstasy. The spikes would last only about a minute but she would be very expressive of her joy in an aggressive way to a point where it was a little dangerous. She grabbed another child by the arms and started laughing and swinging him around her in a circle and dragged him to the ground. I had to calmly say her name and ask her to calm herself down and her eyes seemed to snap back to reality and she became very remorseful and apologetic.

    The second week class:
    I had rearranged all the tables and furniture in the pottery room so that this little girl would be more contained. This time we were sitting around visiting at the beginning of class as kids were arriving. The little girl walked in with an irritated manner. She sat down and started yelling over the other kids and saying she wanted to talk right then. She was angry at them for talking when she wanted to speak. She told us her mother hated her because she was such a horrible person. She said she did a lot of things wrong all the time and couldn't stop herself.

    I was able to calm her down but later, after we had all gotten a drink out of the water fountain as a class, one of the 2-year-olds with his mom from another class stepped up to use the fountain when we were done. This little girl started antagonizing the 2-year-old. She started yelling and telling this little child, "we don't want you here. go away. We hate you. Get away from the fountain." I think she was ready to walk over there and attack the little guy. I calmly explained to her the fountain was for everyone to use, we were done with it, there was plenty of water for everyone and we did want to share the fountain and I apologized to the child and his mother. She seemed to snap out of some kind of daze and come back to reality.

    The little girl looked very remorseful about what she had done immediately after she came back to her senses. I could see in her eyes it was like she had no control, she was forced to act on her emotions against her will.

    The third week:

    See week one.
  7. Om

    Om DragonWolf

    sorry, I must have been in the middle of posting when you posted, abia.

    Not everyone has the luxury of being able to afford medication and treatment.
    Not everyone who can afford medication and treatment has the luxury of being diagnosed and treated properly.

    People who are bipolar tend to alienate family and friends. Family and friends are the people around you who would have helped you get the treatment you need...if you had any.
  8. Oh believe me, I have spent time with a person with bi-polar disorder.

    I also think it's a big sorry excuse for bad behavior sometimes.

    If I remember correctly I read somewhere that it takes, on average, several years to correctly diagnose bi-polar disorder because the illness takes on so many forms. In order to accurately diagnose it, you need to have several brain scans among other things. You can't just walk in off the street and be diagnosed...

    And yet that's what we're seeing. People are given dime store diagnosis of being bi-polar. They get some counselling, no meds and are set off into society. Those of us who happen to cross this person's path are, in essence taking a roll of the die because the person who diagnosed this person wasn't diligent in making sure this person wouldn't harm others, etc.

    I think if a person truly is mentally that they need help...as soon as they are diagnosed. Especially with an illness such as bi-polar disorder. I understand that people act irradically if they are bi-polar. I know all about the manic episodes. I also know I could go to a doctor today, describe to him that I have these times when I'm fine, and other times when I'm really happy, laughing...and then without notice I can snap and start screaming at people, and I can get a diagnosis of bi-polar. Once I have that, I guess I have free reign to abandon my children and destroy their lives. Or perhaps I'll rape a teenager. Maybe rob a bank...I have been wanting a new car. And hey, it's not my fault...I'm bi-polar.

    (I hope everyone realizes I'm being sarcastic there, I would never do those things.)

    I hope you at least see my point, even if you don't agree with it. I can see your point. I understand that this is a very real mental illness. I know how it can make people act. I also know it's treatable with medication and if you're going to claim you raped a 14 year old because of it, make sure you're diagnosed before you do it, not after. Then get on meds...at least then you might be believed.
  9. From my own personal experience they also lie to everyone, cheat on their spouses, screw anything that moves, get pregnant cause they like the attention, leave the kid with whoever will take it, imbezzle money, prey on military men, have awful foul mouths, verbally and physically attack anyone who might try to make them own up to their responsibilities, go crying back to mommy who bails them out, are never held accountable for their actions and think they own the world.

    Again, I'm not saying there aren't people who have the disorder. What I"m saying is there are people who act like they do cause it's conveinant. I'm sick of dealing with it, and tired of hearing it used as an "Oh woe is me" excuse for bad behavior.
  10. Om

    Om DragonWolf

    What I read in your post is it's a problem with our society and diagnosis and treatment are difficult. You've just supported the arguement the woman made for herself. She wasn't diagnosed and treated until after a significant incident. Par for the course.

    I do understand there are people who will exploit this if the woman's defense is successful. I hope you also understand that just because the woman wasn't diagnosed until after the incident, it doesn't mean she isn't truely bi-polar. If I were there first hand watching everything unfold, and able to read everyone's most private thoughts I could make a solid judgement.

    As it is, we must rely on the media -already proven to sensationalize the news to sell advertising.
  11. She was determined to not be responsible for her actions due to mental defect. Fine, if shes bipolar she has no control over herself sometimes.

    She was held accountable, both no and in the future, by her permanent status as a registered sex offender.

    She has not been punished for actions which she (claims to have) had no control over, and for the safety of others, she has been classified in accordance with the action committed.

  12. I know this isn't really on topic, but she's not getting off because she's Bi-Polar. The prosocution didn't want to put the boy on the stand, the judge refused the plea deal, so the prosecution dropped the case rather than further traumatize the victim.

    The fact that she's Bi-Polar didn't have anything to do with dropping the case. But yes, she used that as one of the explinations for why she did it.
  13. what rayz said....the boy was going thru his own isues regarding the media and all that crap...if he was't messed up before all this....he most certainly will be....our media can't keep thier hands off all this crap..in their pursuit to make the woman as much as a "devil" as they could..they forgot about the real victim...i hate our media...

  14. Um. Do qualifying as having done those make me Bi-Polar? Because that might explain alot about my personal confusion towards life.
  15. Just to clarify = you are stating that they *CAN*, not that they all *DO* continually, right?
    No more than anyone else.
    I know some who are very loyal, honest and trustworthy. Often when they lash out at someone, depending upon the severity of the issue (an adult giving a verbal 'taunt' shall we say) they often don't even know to the extent they are hurting someone. I'm not making an excuse; just stating a fact.
    If you have never seen "As Good As It Gets." I suggest you do so. That will give you an insight to someone who is bi-polar. And yes, it is my experience that people who are B.P. are often obsessive-compulsive as well.

    As for the teacher? Whether she has B.P. or not, she ought to be held accountable and should serve some form of payment/service. Perhaps if results state she is B.P. the sentence of jail time could be waived and she could lose her teaching license.

  16. I understand she didn't "get away with it" because she is bi-polar, she's using it as an excuse. I'm sorry I didn't clarify that earlier.

    Not all do. I understand that. I've been doing so much research into this disease that I'm nearly an expert at this point.

    The one I'm dealing with though, does. She claims she's bi-polar and yet there are no "good" times. If you knew her, you'd understand my point. She's not bi-polar in the sense that you guys are talking about. There is a type of high-functioning bi-polar disorder which includes narcissistic behavior among other things. This is the type of bi-polar disorder which I believe the BP I'm dealing with has.

    I have seen it...and again, I'm sure there are people who truly have the disorder. This isn't my point. I can't even imagine not being able to control your manic self. I've read case study after case study after case study of those who truly have bi-polar disorder and the things they do.

    I also have read the proper way to diagnose this disorder, the proper treatments and even some new treatments. The woman I'm dealing with, and millions of others, are misdiagnosed. There are people who are truly bi-polar who aren't getting the treatment they need. There are people who are just awful people, who are being diagnosed as bi-polar and thus giving them a further excuse to commit crimes.

    I guess maybe my point isn't coming across very well. My point is this. There are people who have the disorder, and they deserve help. There are many others who simply use this disorder, which little is known about, as an excuse to do terrible things and the courts accept it...and I'm sick of it. I'm tired of the courts turning a blind eye to those who are truly sick and not getting them the help they need. I'm tired of people using "Guilty by reason of mental defect" as an excuse because they think they can get off, or at least get a lesser sentence if they fake being bi-polar.
  17. No worries here.
    I simply read your prior post, and interpreted is as though you believe it is a matter of "absolutes", that's all.

    On a related note, based upon your statements in this thread ("researching", and "dealing with" etc..) the message that comes across to me is that you may be in social services, or education, etc.. (If I may ask that is - I do not mean to intrude.)

  18. Actually, none of the above, lol.

    I am currently a pre-law student who has "adjusted" her major. I am now, officially, a pre-law AND pre-med student. (Yes, I"m double majoring with four children, someone shoot me...or come babysit, lol)

    I am currently dealing with a person who claiming to be bi-polar. She is my husband's ex-wife. I have raised my oldest two children since they were 3 and 2...unfortunately they are only mine within our house. From a legal stand point, I am their step-mother. Their real mother abandoned them at the neighbors while hubby was at work. She cleared out their apartment and they subsequently divorced. Hubby fought for custody of the two minor children. She claimed he abused her and them. The judge said you have no proof. For the next two weeks she took the kids to the ER for every bump and scrap saying he was abusing them...A couple of times she accused him of the unthinkable when my daughter had a diaper rash. He won custody, hands down. She never even showed up for court.

    We had been married 7 months the first time she called the kids. My husband answered the phone, and she asked to speak with the children. My son got on the phone, said hello and then asked "Who is this?" She apparently answered Mommy cause he said "No, my mommy's right here" She lost it and called him names. He calmly said, "Oh, you must be my mother."

    The kids know the difference between a mommy and a mother. A mommy takes care of you, loves you, helps you and so much more. A mother gives birth to you. It's the same difference between a daddy and a father.

    The ex was ordered to pay child support. She's now over $15k in the arrears. She was recently taken back to court for contempt of court (Thank you Georgia for finally doing something). She is claiming she is bi-polar and that is why she can't work. We have proof that in fact, she can work, and not only can she work, but she chooses not to. She will hold a job till they start removing child support then she quits. She is a pathelogical liar. I am married to one of her ex husband's and we are close friends with another. Her current husband emails me quite often telling me what is going on with him and the baby and how hard he's trying to get her help. He says that she refuses to take her meds and all she talks about is how she wants to kill me because if I didn't fight for the little brats, none of this would be happening to her. I am Satan's tool. (in her eyes)

    I research this disorder. I try to learn about it. I want to understand how a mother can do this to her children.

    I've added a major because I've become so passionate about this, I want to make changes. My passion is law...that will never change. I'm adding pre-med so I can get my PhD in psychology. I will be studying bi-polar disorder as it relates criminal activites.

    You see, I've found a theory (I haven't been able to find any other evidence, this is why I call it such...still researching) which suggests that bi-polar disorder is actually a form of epilepsy. If this is the case, why are we not treating it as such. Persons with BPD can be considered a harm to themselves and those around them. We place certain restrictions against those who have epilepsy to protect not only them, but us in the event that they have a seizure...why can't we do something similar with BP?

    I also want to look at changing the laws surrounding certain things as it pertains to the mental health field and requiring persons who have commited crimes, and used the defense "Guilty by reason of mental defect" to also be required, and monitored for their meds.

    I feel the best way to do this is to double major. So anyway, that's my story. That's why I'm passionate about this.

    (BTW, the judge ordered that the ex bring proof from a licensed psychologist that the tests have been run and she is indeed unable to work because of the disorder...and not because she's lazy and can't find a job because she settled a lawsuit for embezzling thousands of dollars)
  19. Interesting theory actually - you just might have something there~!
    There are many theories of how it comes about, (Brain fissure, parent smoking & drinking heavily during pregnancy, etc).
    A friend of mine runs a rehab clinic and from what I know, it seems that Lithium works the best for treating BP. But then again, if we had a miracle cure, she still wouldn't want to take it.

    Thanx for sharing - it sure puts my problems in perspective~! ;)

    Good luck in your pursuits~!

  20. Im Going back to School!!!

    Ok Bi polar or not lets look at both sides of the story, we all the kids being alot more sexaully mature earlier in life and with so many cases like this poping up in the last 5 to 7 years.

    Add on top of this that alot of Women insure and longing for the attention, makes them very easy pray for a smart young man whose up to no good.

    Does this excuse her actions , NO not in the least, but at some point we as a society have to relize that the 14,15 16 years old are not the children anymore as we would like to believe.

    It is sad that issues like this happen but keep in mind its more involved that just the reaction facts and headlines.

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