Friday, September 15, 2006

Humanitarian concerns

U.S. District Judge Michael Mukasey found Susan Lindauer so sick as to be incompetent to stand trial. It is only a slight simplification to describe the threshold of being competent to stand for a criminal trial as being able to tell the difference between the judge and the prosecutor.

According to an Associated Press article, the Judge explained that expert examinations determined that Lindauer suffers from "hallucinations, grandiose and persecutory delusions and mood disturbances, including purported gifts of prophecy and spiritual visitations."

Judge Mukasey also doubted the government could prove the charges against Ms. Lindauer, in large part because an element of the crime could not be proven because she was so sick that "even lay people recognize that she is seriously disturbed." After expounding on how very sick Lindauer is, Judge Mukasey then refused to impose an order for her treatment.

The judge had "humanitarian concerns" about ordering medication for Ms. Lindauer, wary of a procedure that "necessarily involves physically restraining defendant" in order to inject "mind-altering drugs."

Putting aside that the large majority of court-ordered medication does not involve the use of restraints and the patently obvious need for her treatment, we wonder how "humanitarian" was Judge Mukasey’s alternative solution. He allowed Susan Lindauer to walk out the courtroom door, apparently still psychotic.