Skip to main content

View Diary: Potential "Gay Panic" defense in beating death of Mississippi mayoral candidate (106 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  actually, the twinkie defense (3+ / 0-)

    was pretty reasonable.  Of course, the media completely and utterly mangled it into something that it wasn't.  

    What the lawyers did was present a defense that Dan White had been subject to a deep depression, for which they offered all kinds of evidence of abnormal (for him) behaviors indicating a depressed state, including eating junk food.  (Twinkies were not mentioned at the trial).

    Of course, the media completely misrepresented that as a defense that "the twinkies made him do it" since they apparently never really were clear on the distinction between evidence of a mental state and an assertion of a cause of a mental state.

    The result of the accumulated evidence of depression was that he was subject to "diminished capacity" which is a pretty common defense for people with demonstrable mental illness.

    Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

    by Mindful Nature on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 04:23:26 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  twinkie madness (0+ / 0-)

      Howard Fineman needs to have a chat with Chris Cilizza about Grecian Formula and its effects on punditry

      by memofromturner on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 04:44:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yeah, poor Dan White. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Hastur, davidincleveland, snoopydawg

      His mental incapacity defense was misrepresented by the news media.  Boo hoo.  He got away with murdering two people.  Being misunderstood by the media was a very small price to pay.

      "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

      by FogCityJohn on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 04:59:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Dan White isn't the victim (3+ / 0-)

        And by the way, he killed himself right after he was released following his manslaughter sentence, so it's not like he was laughing all the way to bank.

        The victim is the credibility of the judicial process. Perpetuating these myths--White was acquitted because Twinkies made him crazy; if the cops don't read you your Miranda warning right after you get arrested, it means you can't be charged with a crime; some lady got a multi-million dollar jury award because she spilled McDonalds coffee while driving in her car--is bad for society.

        It hurts people who are mentally ill, who are victimized by police or prosecutorial misconduct, or who are harmed by corporate negligence.  

        •  I agree with this. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Old Man from Scene 24

          The justice system suffers because of a lot of the myths surrounding it.  It all erodes public confidence in the justice system.

          (On the other side, verdicts of acquittal in high-profile cases like O.J. Simpson and Casey Anthony also do this, though for different reasons.)

          28, white male, TX-26 (current), TN-09 (born), TN-08 (where parents live now)

          by TDDVandy on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 09:12:20 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  uh, no (0+ / 0-)

        the law, not Dan White, got misrepresented and ridiculed by the media.  And let's not forget that White didn't get away, but was in fact convicted.

        but of course the rule of law is never popular in the US, is it?

        Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

        by Mindful Nature on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 10:04:55 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yeah, but not of murder. (0+ / 0-)

          Which is the crime he committed.  

          And what rule of law are you talking about?  The one that got all the possibly gay, single men struck from Dan White's jury?  Is that the rule you're talking about?  

          "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

          by FogCityJohn on Wed Mar 06, 2013 at 12:29:15 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  yep, that one (0+ / 0-)

            As you know all too well, there are major problems with our legal system, jury selection being a big one.  Treatment of minorities in the legal system is clearly another one.

             However, presenting serious policy and legal issues (how to deal with mental illness in the courts) as something stupid and frivolous doesn't help and merely contributes to the continued dumbing down of America.  What we have is a continued culture where people ridicule things they don't understand and haven't thought about.  Just the other day Eric Cantor was scoffing at the idea that the NIH has a machine that smokes cigarettes as if that were the stupidest, most frivolous thing ever.  People buy that stuff, with the result that we shut down programs that carefully study the health effects of tobacco which remains a major killer in society.  THe journalists who enable the stupidity plague need to be called out and roundly condemned.  Justice was not served here, but let's talk about bias against the LGBT community, not something as stupid and off base as the "twinkie defense"

            Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

            by Mindful Nature on Wed Mar 06, 2013 at 07:51:39 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I agree journalists enable stupidity. (0+ / 0-)

              But this is hardly an ideal case for pointing that out.  White's diminished capacity defense was hogwash.  As a person who suffers from major depressive disorder, it's frankly incredible that someone who claims to be severely depressed would have the energy to get a gun, travel across town with it, enter Civic Center through a basement window to avoid security, go up several floors and then fire multiple shots into two different people, one after the other.  Severely depressed people can hardly get out of bed, much less pull off something like that.  If they can find the energy to kill anyone, it's themselves.

              Moreover, the facts of the crime demonstrate a lot of planning and premeditation.  Given those facts, it's difficult to imagine in what way White's capacity could have been "diminished."  Depression is not a psychotic state, and in fact, some studies have shown that seriously depressed people actually see the world more accurately than normal people do.  

              So while I can agree that journalists generally do a poor job of reporting on issues like this, and that they did a poor job in this case, in a way they were right for the wrong reasons.  White's defense was risible.  The journalists' crime here was failing to understand precisely why it was risible.

              "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

              by FogCityJohn on Wed Mar 06, 2013 at 01:48:12 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site