The Stories I Am Reading, In Tweets

The Jodi Arias Sentencing Trial Continues

Hang in there. It won’t last forever.

According to reports, the trial will end in February but I am holding off on any analysis of the case until I can view the courtroom video testimony.

In the meantime, want to discuss the trial? Head over to the message board where there are in-depth and intelligent discussions going on about the case.

Below are some recent pictures from the courtroom.

Should We Execute The Mentally Ill? Scott Panetti, The Death Penalty & Mental Illness

Scott Panetti is a mentally ill, death row inmate in the state of Texas. He has long been diagnosed with schizophrenia and is scheduled to be executed on December 3, 2014. He will be the 10th and perhaps the final Texas inmate to be executed this year.

Mr. Panetti has a long history of serious mental illness. He is profoundly mentally ill and is among the sickest persons to be executed in modern times. Before killing his parents-in-law, he was hospitalized 14 times. Evidence of schizophrenia began in his teen years.

He represented himself at trial and did so while under the control of a hallucinatory figure named “Sarge.” He dressed in a purple cowboy suit and rambled incoherently throughout the trial. He attempted to subpoena hundreds of people, including the Pope and Jesus Christ. His behavior frightened the jurors.

There is no doubt that Mr. Panetti should be held accountable for murdering two people.

If you believe that it is possible for anyone to be mentally ill then there will be no doubt in your mind that Mr. Panetti is mentally ill. Long before murdering his parents-in-law he was hospitalized 14 times. First of all, if you are familiar with the American mental health system you know that it is difficult to get hospitalized even once. Many people who should be hospitalized and whose families and loved ones have tried desperately to get them hospitalized have failed to be hospitalized. A significant number of these people have gone on to murder or commit suicide, or both. When you have achieved a record of 14 hospitalizations, you can be pretty sure that you are mentally ill.

That’s the background and now here’s the question. Should we kill mentally ill people? I suppose you could correctly say there is an even more basic question, which would be, should we give the state the power to execute anyone?

And that’s when it gets complicated. That’s when we talk about the fact that we are the last large democracy in the world that executes its citizens. They don’t do it in Scotland, Ireland, England, Italy, France, Germany, etc., etc.

Those countries are our allies and friends. Many of our families have at some point emigrated from one of those countries. Many of us are very proud of our ancestry. We are Irish-Americans or Italian-Americans, etc. Those countries used to execute their citizens but now they are very much against it. They won’t even release a prisoner to the United States unless we promise not impose the death penalty.

Your relatives and countries of origin, just don’t believe in execution anymore. In fact they are very much against any execution for any reason (it may be wise not to bring up this topic at future family reunions).

It is our traditional “enemies,” those countries around the world who are our political opposites, who continue just as we do to execute its citizens.

If I were to write a thorough analysis of the death penalty, honestly it would take me thousands of pages. It is surely worth writing about but this is not the time or place. I mention the above simply to prove the point and acknowledge the fact that this is an exceedingly difficult topic.

Forget the issue of the death penalty in general.

Let’s keep it simple. Is it right, to execute a mentally ill individual?

Let’s make it even simpler. Let’s move to the lowest man-in-the-street level. Is it right to execute a man who is as nutty as a fruitcake?

Let’s also forget big but meaningful words like “schizophrenia” and “psychotic.” Let’s just talk about it from the perspective of your uncle Bob, who might sum up Mr. Panetti’s condition by simply saying “the guy ain’t all there.”

With a psychotic person, he’s just not “not all there,” he’s not there at all. Really. He is living in a fantasy world and by definition has lost the ability to know what is real and what is not real.

That’s the question. Do we kill mentally ill people? I know it begs the question, should America execute its own citizens, legally guilty of course, but still its own citizens.

We need to think about that. We need to form an opinion and voice an opinion. And that opinion had better be correct, lest you be judged.

I seem to remember reading someplace, someplace really important, advice from an appearingly, supremely knowledgeable source. It came in a list of similar declarative warnings.

It seemed more than a suggestion and more than mere advice. It was stronger than a warning and very clear.

“Thou shall not kill.’

Hey, I’m not pretending to speak for God. I’m just wondering if executing a mentally ill man falls under that admonishment.

Where I’ve Been: An Update

As many of you know, the Jodi Arias sentencing trial is in full swing.

I have been carefully following many of the very competent reporters who are live in the courtroom. I have not been writing about the case because I want to be able to watch it for myself after the verdict.

At that time, I plan to dissect and analyze the psychological aspects of the trial just as I had done during the first trial.

Yes, by then it might be “old news” but I believe it is still worth dissecting.

There were many interesting complexities during the first trial and a great deal to learn.

I believe the same will be true of the sentencing trial.

As you are following the trial from the vantage point of the reporters tweeting from the courtroom, let me know if there is anything of particular interest that you would like me to write about. If so, let me know in the comment section, on the discussion board or via Facebook or Twitter.

I will keep track of your comments and/or suggestions for when I review the sentencing tapes after the verdict.

Hopefully that will be sometime before 2015, but with this trial, anything’s possible.

In the meantime, happy trialing.

Getting Ready for the Upcoming Jodi Arias Trial

Jodi StandI have more recently been on a hiatus from the blog. I have been working on various other research projects but I plan to be writing quite regularly when the trial begins on September 29, 2014.

Right now there is a media black-out but that could easily change. Judge Stevens has a history of changing her mind.

It would have been most interesting to see Jodi acting as her own lawyer, but she has filed a motion to change that “effective immediately upon filing.” So predictable.

You might remember that Jodi wanted to represent herself during her murder trial. She quickly changed her mind in that case as well.

The last Jodi Arias trial was, in many ways, a circus but it was undoubtedly a unique learning opportunity. Some might even say it was an experience. I expect this next trial to be equally as interesting and mind-expanding.

One can’t help but to be interested in the rare female psychopath.

I had the opportunity to interact with a lot of great people during the trial. I hope to make those connections again during the retrial.

Let the sentencing begin.

Kirk Nurmi Wants Off The Case & Other Jodi Arias Legal News

There have been a few tidbits of news about the Jodi Arias case. At a recent hearing, she asked for a delay in the case because one of her attorneys, Kirk Nurmi, wanted off the case. Their relationship has been described as being severely “fractured.”Jodi and Jen W

Juan Martinez vehemently argued against the delay, but no ruling was made.

Since the hearing, the judge has ruled against Kirk Nurmi’s millionth time trying to get off the case. Apparently, he will be there for the trial.

I don’t doubt that Kirk Nurmi wants off the case, but I also wonder if this issue could be used in an appeal, perhaps to argue that she had incompetent legal representation. Any lawyers know the answer to that question?

It’s also unclear whether she will serve as her own attorney. In the recent hearing, Jodi said that she no longer wanted to be her own attorney and that Jennifer Willmot will be taking over. It’s not clear whether that is official, especially with her other attorney constantly attempting to be removed from the case.

Other new information involves Jodi’s list of witnesses. She is apparently added Sky and Chris Hughes to her witness list. If you recall, this couple was very good friends with Travis Alexander. They hung out with Jodi and Travis, but eventually, grew weary of Jodi.

The couple eventually became frightened of Jodi and no longer wanted her in their home.

Stay tuned. I’m sure there’ll be much more news to follow in this never-ending Jodi drama.

It is Official: Jodi Arias Will Represent Herself At Sentencing Trial

So it looks like it’s official. Jodi Arias will be representing herself in her upcoming September trial. Michael Kiefer of the Arizona Republic was apparently in court today following the news. So too was Troy Hayden. Their tweets tell the story.

No Surprise Here: Jodi Arias Prepping to Defend Herself in Upcoming Trial

According to the website “The Trial Diaries,” Jen Wood, who attended the most recent Jodi Arias hearing, learned some interesting, though not entirely surprising news: Jodi Arias is prepping to represent herself at her upcoming sentencing trial.Jodi DP2

Big shocker, I think not. Jodi Arias’ ego demands that she do this. She is, after all, in her view, the smartest person in the room. Smarter than all of those people who studied the law and graduated law school and successfully practiced law for years. Smarter than Juan Martinez, her would-be opponent, who has practiced law for maybe longer than she has been alive.

This is not the first time Jodi chose self-representation. Early on, she fired her attorneys and felt that she, and she alone, could serve as her best legal representative. I would submit to you that individuals who choose to represent themselves in high-profile cases, especially when facing death, have a high degree of belief in themselves. Some might say arrogant, narcissistic or perhaps mentally ill.

The research about self-representation is relatively minimal. J. Decker (1996) argued that “Some defendants may proceed pro se to symbolize their lack of respect for any kind of authority, . . . or because they are unable to get their way and so represent themselves as an act of defiance” (p. 485).

Decker also believed that these defendants “may be cleverly manipulating the criminal justice system for their own secret agenda (p. 486–7).

Even if there is no hidden motive behind wanting to represent oneself in court, Decker thought that these individuals were “…so totally out of touch with reality that they believe they can do it all themselves” (p. 487).

Psychological reasons for self-representation were explored by Cabell (2012). A person might feel self-empowered representing themselves in front of the jury.

Control is another factor. If an individual is controlling their own defense, then they may be able to convey a more realistic picture of the issues than they believe their appointed counsel could convey.

Some defendants may feel as though they have something important to gain by personally arguing their defense. If they can control the communication with the jury, then they can fully explain themselves and ultimately sway the jury to side with them.

In Jodi’s case, she may believe that given an opportunity to tell her version of events, she’ll be able to sway the jury to forgo the death penalty. She’s good at lying and has probably spent every moment spinning a new variation of her self-defense theory.

She may think that she is good with people but by all accounts, she rubs people the wrong way.  She might also rub the jury the wrong way. It is a very big risk.

Thanks to CNN (who successfully argued for her retrial to be televised), we’ll see Jodi’s ego on full display (albeit not until after the verdict has been reached), should she decide to represent herself.

It will be a case to remember.


John F. Decker, The Sixth Amendment Right to Shoot Oneself in the Foot: An Assessment of the Guarantee of Self-Representation Twenty Years After Faretta, 6 SETON HALL CONST. L.J. 483, 522–23 (1996).

Kennedy Cabell. Calculating an alternative route: The difference between a blindfolded ride and a road map in pro se criminal defense. Law and Psychology Review. 36: p259. (2012).

Weekend Reads: The Best of the Web

Here is what’s happening in the world of mental health and criminal justice from around the web:Copcar

How to spot a liar: Secrets from the FBI

One of Casey Anthony’s attorney’s has written a book, says she’s basically imprisoned

LAPD Cop: There is a mental health state of emergency on Skid Row:

“I have had to arrest many mentally ill men and women who I knew and cared about after their illness drove them to harm someone. Though it was legal and in good faith, it was wrong. I put people in prison and jail who had needed help long before they committed their crimes. I could not stop them ahead of time because they did not say the magic words of “I want to kill myself” or “I want to hurt others.”

Woman accused of poisoning son with Visine drops

Oscar Pistorius was not mentally ill when he killed his girlfriend

Justin Ross Harris (and his wife) looks more and more guilty with every new detail: Today we learn he bought life insurance on his son

Conviction in the “Cannibal Cop” case is overturned. For those not familiar with the details, here is the long, detailed background about the case. It’s a great read

The Washington Post chronicles what it is like to live with someone who is actively psychotic and very sick but not “sick enough” to be committed: Behind the Yellow Door

There will now (finally) be a anti-suicide net on the Golden Gate Bridge

Very well researched piece about the surprising truth about women and violence

How our failed mental health system kills

The New York Times analyzes the mental health of zoo animals

15 Books That Have Informed My View of Criminal Justice In America

These books have informed my view of criminal justice in America. book plainm

(1) The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

(2) Deep Secrets: Boys’ Friendships and the Crisis of Connection by Niobe Way

(3) Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman

(4) People of the Lie: The Hope For Healing Human Evil by M. Scott Peck

(5) The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil by Phillip Zimbardo

(6) Columbine: Dave Cullen

(7) Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work by Paul Babiak and Robert D. Hare

(8) Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us by Robert D. Hare

(9) The Autobiography of an Execution by David R. Down

(10) Mindhunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit by John E. Douglas

(11) Dangerous Instincts: Use an FBI Profiler’s Tactics to Avoid Unsafe Situations by Mary Ellen O’Toole

(12) False Justice: Eight Myths That Convict The Innocent by Jim and Nancy Petro

(13) Inside: Life Behind Bars in America by Michael Santos

(14) Devil’s Knot: The True Story of the West Memphis Three by Mara Leveritt

(15) The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule

What are some of your favorites? Do you have any books that resonate, “stay with you” or that you continually reference?

Mentally Ill People Are Dying in Prisons

Christopher Lopez

Still shot from the video of the final hours of Mr. Lopez’s life

One by one, mentally ill people are dying behind prison walls. One of the latest atrocities is the death of 35-year old Christopher Lopez, a man with schizoaffective disorder who died in the presence of Colorado Department of Corrections prison staff who were too busy laughing and making small talk to pay him any attention.

Christopher Lopez died of hyponatremia, a condition associated with dangerously low levels of sodium. It’s often thought to be caused by too much psychotropic medication. The lawsuit notes that in almost all instances, it’s a condition that’s treatable with prompt and adequate medical attention.

A six-hour video exists in which Mr. Lopez dies right before their eyes–a video that could “ultimately… pass as a documentary film on how to ignore the obvious and serious medical needs of the dying prisoner for hours until the very last breath of life leaves his body…”

The video provides “crystal clarity” of what happened in the final moments of Mr. Lopez’s life.

“We can see the defendants wheel a semiconscious Mr. Lopez down to the intake area of the prison and eventually remove him from the restraint chair. We have a ringside seat to watch Mr. Lopez suffer two grand mal seizures in front of the camera while the defendants idly stand about and discuss their views about Wal-Mart and other equally important topics, laughing and joking with one another, all the while completely ignoring the dying man in their charge. We watch as defendants leave Mr. Lopez face down, still fully restrained, on the floor of the intake cell, too weak to hold his own body upright. We see Mr. Lopez struggling to breathe for hours, and then, finally, we have an unobstructed view as Mr. Lopez takes his last breath, dying, half naked on the cold concrete floor of a prison cell– isolated and alone with no defendant caring whether he lived or died.”

The lawsuit alleges that the Colorado prison officials wanted to punish the prisoner for kicking a correctional officer and were “not interested in finding an appropriate treatment plan” for his severe mental illness.

The lawsuit notes that in the final hours of Mr. Lopez’s life, there were a minimum of 16 correctional staff members whom he encountered yet not one of them took any steps to save his life.

What many people may not realize is that this could happen to their mentally ill brother, sister, father, mother, son or daughter. Because the mental health system is in shambles, many people who would otherwise be in hospitals receiving the proper care and treatment are now in prison. Correctional staff, who receive little or no training about how to handle mentally ill people, are now in charge of their care and often view their symptoms or their unresponsiveness as behavioral problems that need to be punished, mostly with solitary confinement.

There are probably many more horror stories that we don’t hear about or that are buried within the pages of civil lawsuits. Until something is done, and we stop criminalizing mental illness, incarcerated mentally ill people will continue to suffer.

Important Facts About Mass Shooters From A Highly-Qualified, Retired FBI Profiler

Dr. Mary Ellen O’Toole, senior FBI profiler/criminal investigative analyst (ret.), Behavioral Analysis Unit, and Editor-In-Chief of the peer-reviewed journal Violence and Gender recently responded to Richard Freidman’s op-ed in the New York Times entitled “Why Can’t Doctors Identify Killers?”

She disputes his conclusion that mass shootings are not predictable.

If these crimes are not predictable, “it forces us to fall back on the “snapping theory– that someone just “snaps,” and we don’t see it coming and we can’t do anything to prevent it.”

Other important highlights from the article about mass shooters include:

Nihilistic/homicidal/suicidal ideation associated with mass murderers evolves over time, and evidence of this is reflected in their planning and preparation for the crime, their interactions with others, how they live their lives, their writings, and their behavior regarding social networking; people don’t just snap

The Association of Threat Assessment Professionals has developed standards for evaluating individuals who make or pose threats; there is the science behind threat assessment

Threat assessment science is based on the biopsychosocial model of medicine and encompasses all aspects of an individual’s life to help identify warning behaviors

If warning behaviors are overlooked or misread, it should not lead to the conclusion that they were absent or that threat assessment professionals have no knowledge, training and expertise to act on those behaviors

The majority of mass shooters are motivated by fame and infamy and when possible the shooters name should be not be used

Dr. Mary Ellen O’Toole is a highly-respected individual who has conducted a great deal of research about threat assessment.

The New York Times should consider publishing her response to Richard Freidman’s op-ed in their newspaper.

Jodi Arias Working With Production Company To Tell Her Version of Events

The latest in the Jodi Arias saga is that she has found a production company to produce a feature film told from her perspective about the killing of Travis Alexander. Surely this will be a work of fiction. Jodi Arias

Gary Nelson, of Splash Hit Productions, has been corresponding with Jodi, her legal team and her family and friends. He has developed his own perspective on why she killed Travis Alexander, and he doesn’t seem to blame Jodi.

The killing was a “poor alignment of the stars.”

“I think Jodi, and no fault of her own, was in love with the thought of being in love. She was out searching for something. Had they not met, I don’t think we’d be sitting here talking. I think this was something that took two sides to complete,” he told Radar Online.

Many people have said that they have been trying to Google “Splash Hit Productions ” and are not finding any trace of the company on the Internet. I tried myself and didn’t find anything either.

For as long as Jodi Arias is living, she will be doing things of this nature. She is not a normal person.

It’s difficult for us to understand how anyone could act like she does, think like she does, but she is not like us. There’s something very wrong with Jodi Arias.

Even if this movie is made, I see it as a losing proposition. No one in their right mind would believe Jodi Arias’ version of events. And which version would she tell? The ninja story? The one about her being a victim of domestic violence? Surely by now, she has a new version of events.

Only the Jodi Arias “truthers” would believe her version of events and thankfully, in the grand scheme of things, there’s not many of those.

Weekend Reads

Check out these news stories I’ve been following:spiral2

A Waffle House waitress tried to have her husband killed by her lover on Memorial day while she was out on a picnic with her kids.

A bitter divorce ends in murder-suicide while the couple’s three children are in the home.

California doctor is arrested for the murder of his professor wife Dr. Doris Knapp; she was also part of a medical team that won a Nobel Prize.

The Massachusetts Parole Board approved the release of a man convicted as a juvenile of first-degree murder; first release of its kind in the state.

Man who killed a Houston postal worker, received 75-year sentence, served less than half of it and has now been released. Victim’s mother: “I would like to blow him off this earth, that’s what I’d like to do.”

Drug informant and former Cocaine Kingpin, portrayed by Johnny Depp  in the movie “Blow,” has been released from prison after 17 years.

Man who is accused of stabbing two children in a Brooklyn elevator has a long history of severe mental illness but had “fallen through the cracks.”

Seattle Pacific University shooter Aaron Ybarra has a history of being hospitalized for problems with “rage;” had tried suicide-by-cop in order to become famous; was obsessed with Columbine; went on a shooting spree to kill as many people as possible  and then kill himself.

Police kill an 18-year old mentally ill teen after family calls 911 for help. Police say she lunged at them with a knife. The family is devastated wondering why they didn’t just taze or tackle her. This is the second shooting of a mentally ill person by an officer in the San Mateo county police department.

Marissa Devault, who was convicted of killing her husband with a hammer, was sentenced to life in prison without a chance for parole.

A man claims his cat is to blame for him killing his stepfather.

The New York Times describes the horrific conditions in one southern jail: “Pictures don’t lie…I’ve been doing this for more than 20 years, and I’m pretty convinced that there is nothing out there that has been made public that is this shocking.”

All states should follow: Colorado bans long-term solitary confinement for people with serious mental illnesses.

Protect Yourself Against Psychopaths: A Unique Coaching Service

I recently had the opportunity to conduct an email interview with Louise Delahunty, PG DipCOT, founder of Psychopathy Awareness and Harm Reduction Coaching (PAHRC).  Louise is a mental health occupational therapist, coach and acupuncturist by background, trained under psychopathologist Sandra Brown M.A. in coaching survivors of psychopaths.


PAHRC works to raise awareness of the impact of partial/full blown psychopaths in the personal/ business realms in order to avert ‘inevitable harm’ or support you work through the aftermath.

What Was the Impetus For Your Business?

I think in many ways psychopathy is a subject that chooses you.

My first professional experience with a client I suspect was psychopathic was with ‘X’ who regularly featured in the local press as a WW2 hero and would actively seek this attention. Receptionists at my workplace would constantly remark how ‘lucky’ I was to be assigned this seemingly affable charmer who’d shower them with chocolates and compliments.

Yet I knew a different side to X. A lifelong gangster who at nearly 80 would charge into local pubs and attack people with his walking stick! Someone who would repeatedly say he wished the Germans had won the war (whilst courting the press, let’s remember, with an opposing persona). The last I heard of him was that he’d been arrested for an attempted rape in a residential home.

As with most mental health professionals I had had no training in detecting the signs of psychopathy…and spent hours pouring over what seemed unfathomable psychology to me. ‘How could X be so lethal, yet so adored? Who was he really?…Dr Jekyll or Mr Hyde?’

Once the penny dropped that I’d encountered a probable psychopath I began to question why the vast majority of us are in the dark about psychopathy – something that affects us all in one way or another. It was as if a handful of researchers and forensics professionals had exclusive rights to discuss the subject and I grew increasingly uncomfortable that such important information was in so few hands.

But it was the impact of psychopathy on other people that really gripped me. I found I couldn’t let go of it and began to research it prolifically. I took courses in the states and met and communicated with 100’s of survivors from India to America. Their stories were strikingly similar – whether they’d been involved in a cult or loved a fraudulent person. Learning about psychopathy in the hardest way possible forces a ‘paradigm shift’ in someone – the world is not how they thought it was and never quite will be again. Survivor’s stories are appallingbut their strength is phenomenal.

Who Primarily Uses Your Services?

This will surprise people, but primarily Mental Health Professionals (MHP’s) who have been victimized by psychopaths who may also be Mental Health Professionals! They are eager to avoid a re-run or to help others who’ve had this experience.

There are many erroneous assumptions that MHP’s should ‘know better’ ‘be able to spot psychopaths’ or ‘would never be psychopathic.’ It doesn’t work like that. I’ve spoken with leading experts in the field who’ve been victimised.

For me, this speaks of the power of this type of psychopathology and the capacity of people with marked psychopathic traits to manipulate and deceive. So I’d really urge people not to assume they are ‘immune.’ There’s not a psychopath ‘behind every tree,’ but they exist in every walk of life, more often than people think.

Is Your Business Similar to What Threat or Risk Assessment Professionals Do (i.e. highlight some of the potential problem people at an organization?)

In terms of our corporate coaching, our current focus is on advising on recruitment practices to minimise the risk of a business hiring their organizational downfall – prevention is far better than cure. It is also important for organisations to be aware of control tactics exhibited by those with psychopathic traits in order to understand what is going on and plan how to deal with it more effectively.

We are currently in discussion about working with a psychologist trained to screen organisations.

If Someone Believes That They Are Working With a Psychopath, How Do You Instruct Them To Protect Themselves?

Firstly most difficult and unreasonable people are not psychopaths (for the record nor are most criminals or psychiatric patients). Psychopaths are in a league of their own and I suspect most of them would agree with me on that. I once heard psychopaths described as ‘serial soul killers’ and think this is really what we are talking about, someone who effectively ‘wipes people out’ to inflate themselves across different contexts and across their life span.

Research the subject selectively – start with Babiak and Hare’s ‘Snakes in Suits’, and the documentary ‘I am Fishead’

A psychopath’s optimal exploitation of people and organisations relies on others not seeing behind the mask, particularly those with the influence or power to do anything about it. Realising you may be dealing with a psychopath can be liberating (‘that explains it!’) and lonely at the same. Recognise those around you may stay dazzled by the psychopaths fraudulent charms. Confide only in colleagues with whom you have a long established, trusting relationship, or with people outside. Emotional support is vital – the impact is often severe.

Don’t let the psychopath know you’ve ‘seen’ them (they will see this as a threat or challenge which can activate their vengefulness). Stick to neutral conversations where possible and avoid getting defensive. Agree when you authentically can, leave a paper trail of everything and start looking for your next job unless you are very confident you can oust them (without using the ‘p’ word!) and have a lot of support. Change your passwords regularly and don’t leave your mobile lying about.

Has Anything Surprised You About Your Work Thus Far?

The surprises that fade least are these:

  •  Up to 1 in 25 lack conscience – a critical component of what, for most of us, it means to be human.
  • That most people have encountered/will encounter a full/partial psychopath yet few will realise what has happened and that it wasn’t their fault. This often reminds me of a Steve Biko quote: “The greatest tool in the hands of the oppressor… is the mind of the oppressed.”
  • That so few people can admit they were wrong about someone (this is a different thing from not realising it I think).

PAHRC’s next scheduled course ‘How Psychopaths Harm’ runs in London, July 21st. Visit to find out more.

There is a real need for this service. I would encourage you to check out PAHRC.

Have you been harmed by a psychopath?

Latest Ruling: Jodi Arias Remains Eligible for the Death Penalty

By now, you’ve probably heard the news. Jodi Arias remains eligible for the death penalty.Jodiwhiteshirtclip

It’s another loss for her defense team.

Jodi Arias’s attorneys recently filed a motion asking Judge Sherry Stevens to dismiss the prosecutor’s ability to seek the death penalty. The reason for the request: Jodi’s mitigation specialist was banned from the jail for approximately one week.

It was argued that the one week ban prejudiced her mitigation specialists’ ability to properly prepare for Jodi’s upcoming sentencing trial.

It was also argued that the ban “affected the relationship” between Jodi and her defense team. It supposedly caused a “lack of trust.”

The judge ruled that the defendant ultimately failed to prove her argument and thus denied the motion. It was noted, in the ruling, that the court had observed Jodi interacting with her mitigation specialist since the incident but judged that there did not appear to be “any change in the relationship” between the two.

There was not enough proof to support the argument and no specific information was presented regarding how the one week apart would hurt Jodi during the sentencing phase of her trial.

Thus, it remains possible that Jodi Arias might be given the death penalty.

Do you believe that Jodi Arias will receive the death penalty?

Barring any further delays, jury selection for the penalty phase is expected to begin on September 8, 2014.

It’ll be interesting to see what her defense team has in store for this jury. No doubt it will include some of her “artwork.”

Op-Eds Around the Net

More views of the latest mass shooting from around the net.

James Garbarino, professor of psychology at Loyola University Chicago.

What is most striking about killers is that for the most part, crazy or sane, they believe their acts of violence are justified. Rodger believed he was right to bring death to pretty women who had rejected him and all the others who he felt had treated him unjustly. In this he is like so many killers I have interviewed.

There is widespread justification for violence as a tactic in America. For example, no society that imposes the death penalty can be said to be “nonviolent” in its core beliefs.

Norm Pattis, a criminal defense and civil rights lawyer

“Elliot Rodgers looks less like a victim of mental illness than he does the Culture of Narcissism coming to its logical extreme. If all we are is the sum of our desires, then desire frustrated is the apocalypse. We should worry less about this young man’s mental illness and more about the social malaise that made him possible.”

We can point to all the warning signs we missed. But they’re yellow flags. They’re not red flags until blood is spilled,” said James Alan Fox, a criminal justice professor at Northeastern University who has written several books on mass murders.

Pia Glenn of XOJANE

In a statement to the press, family attorney Alan Shifman spoke on behalf of Elliot Rodger’s father and said of Elliot, “This CHILD was being treated by MULTIPLE professionals. The CHILD was diagnosed at an earlier age of being a highly functional Asperger’s syndrome child.”

Mr. Shifman emphasized the words I’ve put in caps, not doing a very good job of concealing his desire to infantilize and stigmatize Mr. Rodger, because a “crazy Asperger’s kid” is easier translated to “senseless killing” than a 22-year old with a deep-seated hatred of women. The problem is that when you look at the larger issues at hand, unfortunately the senselessness begins to make a little more sense.”

Jeff Yang at Quartz

Rodger grew up in the shadow of Hollywood, a place where terms like “trophy wife” and “arm candy” and “casting couch” are thrown around withglib abandon. It’s a culture that has mainstreamed the notion that women are accessories, party favors, tools for sexual release, not just behind the scenes, but in front of it, particularly within the genres most likely to shape the worldview of young males.

How many “coming of age” movies have supported the idea of loss of virginity as a rite of passage, and used lack of sexual experience as code for subnormal masculinity? How many have underscored the status divide between sexually active jocks, bros and studs and socially invalidated, sexually frustrated nerds, freaks and geeks? I’ve admittedly watched—and enjoyed—many of them myself, from vintage entries like Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Revenge of the Nerds to more recent ones like American Pie and Superbad.”

Interesting Array of Opinions About Why Elliot Rodger Did It