Sunday, October 7, 2012

If you are ever wondering...

     ...what the mental and emotional state of your city or town is, spend a morning sitting in criminal court listening to the cases that are brought before the judge.

     I did that one morning last week and was surprised at how "bipolar" has become the new "insanity" defense. Over and over again, I heard how someone had not been taking their medication and "that" was why they did the crimes they were being accused of.

     One man, a repeat violent offender since the late 1980's [at least 15 charges were read by the state attorney, each increasing in severity ~ I wondered why he was even out in the first place], was again facing charges for violence which he said was because he had gotten off his meds.  He asked the judge to drop his bond because he was the sole caretaker for his ill mother.  The answer was no, and he was told to have his public defender arrange with the Council on Aging to find someone to care for his mom.

     A 20-year old single mother was facing felony child abuse charges because she had gotten off her meds and harmed her one month old baby girl.  "Harmed" is a gentle term.  The baby girl had two skull fractures and a brain hemorrhage, and at a month old  just now weighed ten pounds.  The bio-mom of the "accused", who had given the accused up for adoption when she was less than a year old, was trying to get custody of the baby to keep her out of foster care.  The woman who had adopted the accused was to have her back in her home until she faced trial for the child abuse.  The conditions for her release were extremely strict, and in the event that the bio-mom did get custody of the baby, visitation with her was to be under supervision of professional counselors, not family members.  I said a prayer for all four of them.

     In another case, a man was recommended by his own public defender that he be returned to the state mental hospital because he was not only a danger to himself, but a danger to society... even when he was on his bipolar medications.  Apparently the state hospital had decided he was "cured" and released him, but subsequent evaluations after his arrest for an act of violence showed that was probably not the case.

     I don't know that bipolar is the new insanity defense or not, but I do know that what I saw that morning gave me a new perspective on where I live, and increased my desire to move to my own private island.

1 comment:

  1. I am always sorry that more people do not seem ready to accept responsibility for where they are, for what they have done, or for where they are going. It seems to be far too common to blame someone else if at all possible, or to claim extenuating services.
    That said, I think the people who released the gentleman with mental health issues should indulge in a little soul searching themselves.