Thursday, February 26, 2015

How's that NGRI defense working for ya?

Mentally ill U.S. Marine Corps veteran, Eddie Routh

Eddie Routh's problem (aside from killing two people, of course -- including famed SEAL sniper Chris Kyle) was that he admitted to two things in his 90 minute videotaped confession:

1) he was "sorry" for what he did [i.e., he knew it was wrong]

2) he smoked a "wet joint" prior to the murders [i.e., a PCP-laced marijuana cigarette]

In Texas, if you are voluntarily intoxicated OR if you knew what you did was wrong, there simply is no NGRI -- that defense never had a chance.

By the way, Marcus Luttrell (the "Lone Survivor") is a great big a-hole, per his post-sentencing Facebook posting:
“To Eddie Ray Routh, you thought you had PTSD before .?? Wait till the boys in TDC [Texas Department of Corrections] Find out you killed a TX hero,” he wrote.
I'm not sure that anyone should be celebrating that we are sending yet another mentally ill human being into the hell that is the American penal system. He won't get the treatment he needs in prison; he won't be able to follow the rules; and, he'll end up doing time in a Segregated Housing Unit (solitary), which will make his mental condition even worse. Hooray! Cruel and Unusual Punishment is alive and well in the United States of America! Never mind the 8th Amendment.
The Washington Post has a good piece on the case.

"As noted in this Dallas Morning News piece, Routh had been in and out of Green Oaks Psychiatric Hospital in Dallas at least twice in the five months before Kyle and Littlefield were killed. The facility treats adults with conditions including suicidal thoughts, depression, psychotic thinking and bipolar disorder.
Routh had previously threatened to kill himself and his family, the Dallas Morning News reported. The Daily Mail of Britain, citing an interview with Routh’s father, also reported that the Marine veteran spent three weeks in a Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in Dallas after having an episode near a lake."

The prosecution's expert witness [a clinical/forensic psychologist] said Routh has paranoid personality disorder and substance-induced psychosis (not schizophrenia). The defense's expert [a psychiatrist] said that he had paranoid schizophrenia. Even if the jury believed that Routh was schizophrenic, it wouldn't have mattered, because of 1) and 2) as stated above. Just because you are schizophrenic, it doesn't mean you get the NGRI acquittal.

As a side note, another defense expert who evaluated Routh, Dr. Charles Overstreet, had his testimony barred because he is neither a licensed physician nor a licensed clinical psychologist. He has a Ph.D. in something psychology-related but he is only a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, so the prosecution objected and the judge concurred.

In the battle of experts, a clinical psychologist triumphed over a psychiatrist in this case. J
It shows that juries don't care about your degree. They are looking at your suit. And that distinguished silver hair at your temples.

In any event, it was the videotaped confession that nailed Eddie Routh. And Texas's draconian NGRI statute.

 Will people be cheering when Eddie Routh kills himself in prison?


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