In this story one of President Obama’s judicial nominees, Hon. Robert Chatigny, essentially admits he considers sexual sadism to be a mitigating factor in the behavior of a serial killer. Thus he argued, the serial killer should have recieved a lighter sentence. If you ask me this empathy for the killers, has run amuck and is completely out of proportion to empathy for the victims.
Yes God loves everyone, even serial killers. But that doesn’t mean we should be giving them empathetically light sentences so that they have the chance to kill again.
As second problem with the judicial opinion put forth by the judge is that he makes it clear that he believes his own assessment is more important than precedent. In sum, he can provide no expert opinion or prior case law, to justify his empathy for sexual sadism as a mitigating disorder. This clearly shows what happens when we replace the concept of sin with secular notions.
Neither of our choices for President were that great. But Obama was far worse, and further from the moral and ethical teachings of the Church.
Obama said he was for change, and no one cared to ask what that change was.
My question is: WHERE IS THE NEW YORK TIMES on this moral issue of sexual sadism and a potential Supreme Court Justice ?
I think in the case you’re referring to he wanted to make sure the convicted felon was mentally competent enough to waive any more appeals based on his death penalty conviction. In a country that supposedly values the rule of law I would think it would best if we knew for certain a convict knew enough about what he was doing that is actions could end his life.
Discussion of a controversial news event must reference at least one publicly-available news report on the subject. This can be in the form of a link, a partial quote and a link, or a posted photo (as appropriate).
This is from the forum rules. Since it allows an event (which a statement by a judicial nominee is) to be started by the link to an appropriate photo to initiate a thread, I assumed a video clip would be equal to a photo.
For better or worse, Breitbart is a “news report.” I would also suggest that while a blog might be disallowed if it isn’t credible (I have seen it go both ways in this forum), since the video clip consists almost entirely of Congression testimony under oath, I don’t believe there is a question as to the credibility of the information. I also have never heard of Breitbart described as a blog. Instead, we literally hear the judge in his own words. If this breaks a rule, please have it taken down, but my reading of Rule #3 suggests it does not.
I don’t believe this is an issue of the rule of law, but one of interpreting the law appropriately. The issue is essentially whether the obvious presence of sexual sadism should undermine the question of mental competency. I would argue no, in principle. Moreover, for me the video clip, which includes testimony by the convict in question, seems to affirm this assessment. But I would think we may disagree on the issue whether or not sexual sadism should be equated with incompetence without accusing one another of abandoning the rule of law.
I too doubt that being a sexual sadist necessarily leads to mental incompetence, but this judge did believe that he felt that it might be reason enough to question the convicts actions. I don’t see that as a disqualifying action from the bench or a reason to believe he is being soft on criminals or lacks empathy for victims or any of the other horrible things he’s being accused of.
The video was not produced by Breitbart, but by something called Eyeblast.tv. It describes itself thus:
Eyeblast is an online platform for people to share and view videos, photos, articles and opinions on topics that are important to them – from news to political issues and rip-roaring humor. People use the site to upload, view and share content, connect with friends, classmates and colleagues, and make new acquaintances.
Sounds like a video blog site to me. With the ominous music, and back and forth editing from multiple persons at multiple points in time, I think this is a video editorial whose facts are difficult to assess in any context.
Dale. Thank you for the information on Eyeblast. Was that the producer or merely the means use for posting? Either way, I partially concede the point that while Breitbart does not host everything submitted, as say an open blog forum, this cannot be given the full credibility of Breitbart. Thus I will supplement the video clip with an editorial from a newspaper.
This makes a similar argument but without the music to which you objected. Here is a key portion of the editorial:
*Michael Ross may indeed have been too demoralized to fight for his life against a death sentence. But did his condition qualify for this diagnosis? Judge Chatigny, in his telephone conversation with Mr. Paulding, seemed to suggest that it did when, referring to Mr. Ross’s mental state, the judge said: "He looks rational, he sounds rational, but in fact he’s at the end of his rope."3 The suggestion is that severe demoralization is a mental illness. If that turns out to be the case, Connecticut may be setting a standard for competence that no one on death row would be likely to meet.
The criteria for competence to refuse further appeals of a death sentence are not highly refined. Judge Chatigny lent some degree of definition when he challenged Mr. Paulding to be sure that Mr. Ross’s refusal was "knowing, intelligent and voluntary,"3 a fairly ambiguous standard. The problem of an ambiguous legal standard for competence is compounded by an equally ambiguous, poorly researched, and unvalidated psychiatric diagnosis. The concept of death row syndrome, as described to date, lumps every conceivable psychiatric reaction to severe confinement. But if one becomes psychotic or suicidally depressed in reaction to these conditions, certainly other well-established diagnoses may support a finding of incompetence. It is the other inmates, of course, who create the conundrum. They are the ones who are seriously demoralized, distressed, and anxious, though not otherwise diagnosably mentally ill, who may knowingly choose death, perhaps coerced by their situation. They are the ones who are making a desperate choice in a desperate situation. Will demoralization, even desperation, qualify as death row syndrome?
If we label these inmates’ condition a mental illness and use that to reach a finding of incompetence, what we are really doing is implementing a social policy (abolition of the death penalty) on the back of psychiatry. This is a misuse of psychiatry and an end run around the law. If, as a society, we wish to abolish the death penalty—as I believe we should—we should legislate that change and not pin it on the inappropriate use of a speculative psychiatric diagnosis.*