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?

Tags: Arias, Jodi, liar, pathological, psychopath

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I am in favor of Life in prison - give her lots of books to read, a clean, safe cell with a window and decent food and then leave her there.

I am against the death penalty because people make mistakes, too many people have been executed by the government in the Untied States who did not deserve it.

I also do not believe the state should have the power to execute people. The only time a person, acting on behalf of the government should be allowed to kill another is in a war zone.

Life in prison should be life in prison. Maybe there are circumstances when a murderer can be allowed back into society but I'm having trouble imagining what those circumstances would be.

If LIFE in prison is torture so be it.  An execution; however, is always going too far. I wish Osama Bin Ladin were living in a 20 x 20 cell at the top of the Chrysler Building in New York and never let out.

To reply to Unseen's more interesting points:

Part of keeping people healthy is holding them accountable for their actions.  Serving a full sentence should be seen as part of any treatment regimen.  So I would say ones state of mind is irrelevant. You can be guilty and sane or guilty and crazy but never innocent by reason of insanity. If this were our policy there would be a lot less crazy people.

If I spent half my life doing drugs and alcohol then I made myself nuts and and am responsible for what I do in that state of mind.  It is Jodi Arias' responsibility to get healthy.

I am against the death penalty because people make mistakes, too many people have been executed by the government in the Untied States who did not deserve it.

I understand but what about when someone admits to the murder, as she did?

Sometimes people claim to have committed crimes and it is later proven that they could not have done it.  I don't know of a law that can be devised that ensures only truly guilty people are executed. Once you open the door, the wrongly accused will be pushed through it.

Whether or not people who have mental problems should be held accountable is a much more difficult question to answer. 

But if they lie about their guilt, that takes the burden off us, doesn't it? Is there no situation in which it's time to stop asking questions?

Your arguments against wrongful execution equally apply against wrongful conviction, so how can you even justify going through the motions of a trial?

I've been having my doubts that justice is even possible given that, as famous law professor Avery Friedman opined after Caylee Anthony was unexpectedly acquitted, "Of course another jury might have convicted her."

Who will reject the good because it's not perfect?

Unseen will if it stimulates discussion.

Have you taken any philosophy courses? Conceptually, The Good IS perfect. If it's not perfect it's not The Good.

The only time a person, acting on behalf of the government should be allowed to kill another is in a war zone.

When those who order the war do so in order to steal another nation's assets? Or when their god tells them to order a war? Or when they feel slighted by another nation's leader? Etc, etc, etc?

... the amount of damage doesn't really matter, dead is dead. You make a lot of assumptions in your argument.

It actually matters a lot in terms of what charges to find her guilty of and it matters even more when it comes to the penalty phase in which aggravating factors can make the difference between life in prison or the death penalty in her case.

Interesting. How to factor in someone's genetic predisposition to being violent. One's genetics are beyond one's control, after all.


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