not just another umw blogs weblog

Spider and Smart

with one comment

In class today we talked about whether or not it was Spider’s fault that he killed his mother.  We talked about how determining fault is a sticky task since it’s nearly impossible to separate Spider from his mental disability.  Amanda suggested that without the mental disability, Spider wouldn’t be who he was so it’s impossible to know if he killed his mother solely because if his mental disability.  I think it was Dr. Foss who mentioned that this is a tricky issue in the court of law today.  If a person is mentally unstable (like Spider) how should they be treated in court?

That discussion reminded me of an article I read before class about the kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart.  For those of you who don’t know you Elizabeth Smart is, she was abducted from her home at the age of 14 in Utah in 2002.  She was found alive and returned to her family nine months later after being made into her kidnapper’s second wife and being sexually abused among other things (here’s a link to the whole story).  Since I have family living in Utah, I remember being out there and seeing billboards with her face on them, both in search of her and after she was found.

The man who abducted her was Brian David Mitchell and the article I read was about how he is  being brought to court, eight years after the actual kidnapping.  The reason it has taken this long is because Mitchell’s mental health was in question.  The article says,

Mitchell was diagnosed with a delusional disorder and was twice deemed incompetent for trial in state court.  Defense attorneys maintain Mitchell is unable to participate in his own defense. In court papers, attorneys have said they’ll mount an insanity defense, claiming Mitchell was so impaired in 2002 that he can’t be held legally responsible.

However, earlier this year, a district judge deemed Mitchell “competent to face trial.”

What does everyone think?  Should Mitchell be exempt from legal responsibilities because of his mental state?  What should happen to him?  This is an issue Spider obviously didn’t have to deal with being a fictional character.

Written by Susan

November 1st, 2010 at 8:50 pm