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10 GOLD. M.D. 25ECH OEVER, E59.
National Research Office
Actional Advisory Board
3. Chemistry -N FRIEDBERS, M.D. AVIO JORDON
crney * RAY REYNOLDS Psychiatrist
Enclosed please find the Citizens Commission on Human Right's latest position paper on the Criminal Code. I would appreciate any comments on our reconmendations,
As I've mentioned before, we would like to see the date of the hearings on the criminal code postponed till at least the first of October to give concerned groups and individuals sufficient time for preparation, Due to the far-reaching effects and importance of the Criminal Code, we also feel your Subcommittee should hold nation-wide hearings at separate locations so that all interested have the opportunity to testify. This position is supported by the National Committee Against Repressive Legislation, the American Friends Service Committee, the Civil Liberties Union of Mass., the American Civil Liberties Union, the Mass. Black Caucus, Mobilization for Survival, the Boston Coalition Against 5.1437, the women's International League for Peace and freedom, and Fred King of Harvard, Please let me know what you will do to ensure this occurs.
With Best fegards,
Criminal Code reform is again before the U.S. Congress in 1979.
Subcommittee on Criminal Justice of the House Judiciary Committee for the
96 th Congress has been holding meetings concerning criminal code reform this
year, and on July 13, 1979, their "Rough Working Draft" was released.
general, this draft represents a vast improvement over last year's S.1437 and
its predecessor s.l. Although this document is only a draft, it represents
some important issues which the Citizens Commission on Human Rights must
take a position on at this time.
SUBCOMMITTEE IMPROVEMENTS IN THE MENTAL HEALTH PROVISIONS
CCHR 18 now,
and has been for the last four years, majorly concerned
with the sections of the code dealing with mental competency to stand trial,
mental examinations of defendants, the Insanity defense, and commitment of
defendants due to insanity. There have been steady improvements in these
sections since the first draft of s.l; and the final draft of S.1437 and the
version released July 13, 1979 by Congressman Drinan's Subcoumittee on
Criminal Justice represent the two most significant improvements.
11ke to conmend the Drinan subcommittee for its efforts on these sections and
its ability to align the mental health provisions with present day knowledge.
The mental health section of the bill 18 Subchapter II, Mental Incompetence, Sections 6121 through 6126. Perhaps the most significant provision falls under
Section 6124 which gives the person being treated the right to accept or refuse
the proposed treatment, including psychosurgery, electric shock treatment and
protracted use of psychotropic drugs. We strongly support this provision, but suggest that the subcommittee define "protracted" to a specific number of
hours or days
- we suggest 1 day and would strongly oppose any time period
longer than this due to the extremely powerful effects of some of these drugs,
known to cause brain damage, tardive dyskinesia, vomiting, blurred speech,
bluíded vision, and many other such side effects. The section also calls for written informed consent along with an oral explanation of the treatment. CCHR
strongly supports these provisions.
CHANGES STILL NEEDED IN THE MENTAL HEALTH PROVISIONS
Whila CCHR does support the above provisions, we feel that major changes will be required in the bill on the following premise. All defendants have
e right to a fair trial to determine their guilt or Innocence.
of committing a person to a mental institution on the say-so of a psychiatrist is no different from imprisoning him without a trial. Mental hospitals are
in fact prisons.
The only permissible admission to a mental hospital must be
voluntary. CCHR feels strongly that the only considerations of the criminal
Justice system must be guilt or innocence and the meting out of justice.
Therefore, we support the following changes in the bill: (1) remove all psychiatric and psychological testimony from the courtroom; (2) abolish
the Insanity defense; and (3) remove all involuntary coumitment to psychiatric
hospitals or facilities from the purview of the criminal justice system,
NEED TO ABOLISH INSANITY DEFENSE AND EXCLUDE PSYCHIATRIC TESTIMONY
Due to the continued and escalated abuse by psychiatrists alone and defense attorneys in conjunction with psychiatrists, of the legal system, especially the Insanity defense, we must take a firm stand to remove all
psychiatric testimony from the courtroom.
This abuse has occurred as a
result of psychiatrists flaunting themselves as "prophets" and brainwashing
the American government and public with their falsehoods.
If this may seem
11ke a radical stand, please consider these facts:
1. Numerous studies have proven that psychiatrists are not able to predict future dangerousness nor sanity at the time of the crime, better than anyone
2. Psychiatrists have numerous times taken both sides in court cases - one
side arguing that the defendant is sane, the other side arguing that the
defendant is insane or incompetent.
3. At least one study (Langer and Abelson, 1974) has shown that psychiatrists
are prejudiced in diagnos ing present mental state depending on whether the
individual is labelled "patiene" or "job applicant." ("Patient" being
labelled as mentally 111 and "job applicant" being labelled as sane,
psychiatrists viewed identical filmed-interviews.)
4. It is a fairly well known fact among defense attorneys that one can get a
psychiatrist to find some degree of insanity in almost everyone.
With these facts in mind: the dincompetence of psychiatrists and
psychologists to provide expert testimony and the availability and willing
ness of psychiatrists to find nearly anyone to have some form of Insanity
for purposes of exculpating them, in conjunction with the tendency of the
jury to take the psychiatric testimony as 'expert', it becomes apparent that & gross rockery of our legal system is taking place.
EXAMPLES OF ABUSE OF THE INSANITY DEFENSE
To provide two graphic examples of how this mockery can and does work,
let us consider the cases of Dan White and Robert Torsney.
Dan White, a former San Francisco Supervisor, was charged with the November 1978 murders of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and City Supervisor Harvey Milk. White went to city hall with a well-hidden gun and 10 extra
He gained entrance to the building through a window, thus avoiding
metal detectors in the doors which would have detected the
Mayor Moscone 5 times, reloaded his gun, then shot Supervisor Milk 4 times.
As evidence of the gross mockery of our legal system perpetrated by psychlacry, white was not found guilty of first degree murder, even though there was never any question that he committed the killings! He was convicted of
voluntary sans laughter. How? Through such psychiatric mumbo Junbo as what
became to be known as the "twinkie defense", paychiatrists contended that
White's eating of junk food was proof of his mental illness.
and a clinical psychologist testified for the defense; one psychiatrist testified for the prosecution. The jury's attention was focused on White's "diminished
capacity" by the psychiatrists and their verdict reflects their contention
that they did not belleve White had premeditated the killings
a fact which
is very obvious once the psychiatric fictions are removed,
The second case is that of New York police officer Robert Torsney who
shot a 15-year-old boy to death on Thanksgiving Day in 1976. The defense
and its psychiatric testimony argued that Torsney suffered from a rare form
of psychomotor epilepsy at the time he shot the boy; however, Torsney was never