What to do with guilty Jodi Arias and other psychopaths

Yesterday (May 8, 2013), Jodi Arias was found guilty of murdering her boyfriend. Actually, she more than murdered him, she virtually obliterated him. Stabbing him 29 times, shooting him in the face, and slitting his throat almost from ear to ear. She made damned fucking sure he was dead.

That alone should qualify her as a psychopath. However, she's also a pathological liar. She had several versions of her story, finally admitting that she killed him but in, as she termed it, "self defense." She trotted in battered woman syndrome, post traumatic stress disorder, and just about everything but the kitchen sink in an effort to beat the rap.

She may get the death penalty, but should she? The syllable "path" in "psychopath" and "pathological liar" indicates a sickness. She's not a mentally healthy person. 

pathology (n.) "science of diseases," 1610s, from French pathologie (16c.), from medical Latin pathologia "study of disease," from Greek pathos "suffering" (source)

As revolting as the murder was, can we separate her guilt from the sickness from which she suffers?

More generally, suppose all crimes could be traced back to some sort of pathology. What would happen to the entire concept of guilt? And suppose that once a pathology was identified, there was a "cure." Could we ethically hold people responsible for their actions before the cure, given their diminished capacity for making proper ethical choices?

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If this article (2006) is correct, it's already happening:

"A federal panel of medical advisers has recommended that the government loosen restrictions limiting the testing of experimental pharmaceuticals on prisoners. The restrictions were put in place in the 1970s after prisoner abuses were discovered.

"The proposed changes would include rules meant to prevent previous abuses from happening again..."

After reading the article that you posted a link to, it would seem that the program that is being discussed allows pharmaceutical companies to test ANY medication, especially ones that they are finding it hard to find volunteers for. I was suggesting that inmates that have clearly defined mental and personality disorders be part of studies that are targeted towards treating those disorders in the future, with the hope that someday in the future we will be better able to identify and treat those afflictions before they result in violent behavior. The question of whether or not the inmates should be required to participate in such studies, or have their prior consent given beforehand is a separate, but linked, issue. My stance is that they should be included in such studies.

That's my theory that lives have exchange value. Save a life, double the value of yours. Take a life and your life's value becomes zero.

I don't see a problem with killing her. She saw no problem with killing the guy. It's a fair price for murder if you ask me. As an atheist, I see value in life some theists don't. There is no after life so life is all you get. If you take someone life away, shouldn't yours be forfeit?

Okay, what?

Not necessarily. If I shoot an enemy, perhaps when I leave the service I should volunteer for projects that save lives. Now, if I drop a bomb that kills a dozen innocent people, perhaps I have a debt to mankind. 

On the other hand, suppose the person I kill is a terrorist and I'm actually saving lives?

The terrorists GOAL is to terrorize. The soldier generally has other objectives than to terrorize.

It's pretty simple actually.

Generally, if the ied is used in territory they regard as their own, they are called "insurgents" not "terrorists." If used in territory they regard as alien to their interests, then they are terrorists, like the Boston Marathon bombers, for example. Even though one was a naturalized citizen and the other was here as a resident alien, they regarded the U.S. as alien territory, so they are terrorists.

If you take someone life away, shouldn't yours be forfeit?

Yep. I always say this but it seems to perplex people. If you're willing to kill somebody, you have no right to bitch about it if someone tries to kill you.

Is killing convicted criminals really the best solution? Does it serve society in the long term? If research can be done on these sort of people, and some sort of effective treatment developed to help prevent future atrocities from happening, isn't that a better outcome than learning nothing about how and why people like that develop and behave?

Is killing convicted criminals really the best solution?

In the case of pickpockets or joy riders, no. In the case of murderers, perhaps.

Does it serve society in the long term?

In the long therm, it may not matter. It's more for the survivors and other victims. Otherwise, you are doing nothing for them

If research can be done on these sort of people, and some sort of effective treatment developed to help prevent future atrocities from happening, isn't that a better outcome than learning nothing about how and why people like that develop and behave?

How does conducting research help the proximate survivors and victims? And what is this research you're talking about? "Now, Bill, why did you cut Joe's head off?" I don't think we need to keep murderers alive in order to do research. Besides, if terminating murderers has ethical implications, so does turning them into lab rats.

Anyway, you like most in this discussion give the victims and survivors short shrift. By executing a murderer they get to feel that something has been done on a par with the gravity of the crime in a "the punishment fits the crime" sense. It's not revenge, it's justice.

I agree that, since execution is final, it needs to be reserved for cases where there really is no reasonable doubt of guilt. For example, if the crime doesn't depend upon purely on witness testimony or circumstantial evidence. Fingerprints in a knife handle. Being caught in lies designed to prevent detection. Their DNA mixed with the victims. Or even caught on video. Some combination of things like that can remove all but the most perverse doubt.

If someone left their fingerprints in a knife plus they have mysteriously burned some clothes in a fireplace or left their bloody clothes in a bag in a dumpster and if they have made a lot of google inquiries about the best ways to kill people. If a case like that can be built, how much doubt can there be?

At some point, doubt becomes unreasonable. However, if the prosecution's case is weak, then I couldn't support the death penalty.

Why even convict people, though, if you have so much distrust in the system or if it is wrong sometimes? You can't undo an execution, but if you put someone in prison falsely, whether or not they are eventually exonerated, you can't really undo that, either. If a man is put in prison for a rape based on false testimony at age 24, but 18 years later DNA exonerates him, it's not like you cam say, "Sorry 'bout that. Tell you what. We're going to make you 24 again."

Aren't your qualms, if accepted, good reasons not to even have a justice system?


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