Saturday, June 17, 2017

Texting by Girlfriend and Suicide Case

For 1000 years of jurisprudence, the intentional act of the suicide victim broke the chain of causation of the suicide by any other party. That changed after a ruling by the New Jersey Supreme Court in the 1980's.

After suicide, people want to scapegoat others, whether girlfriends on line, or treating doctors. I oppose all suicide tort litigation, and certainly criminal charges. The sole exception is a physician who physically assists a patient to kill himself, in a state where physician assisted suicide is prohibited, handing a person a gun, injecting the person with a poison, pushing them off a roof.

As with other catastrophes, multiple factors operate, and most are not under the control of the defendant. The most powerful is mental illnesses, most of which are familial. The second most powerful factor is intoxication, especially by alcohol. Then comes family relationships. I would have gone after the family as a major factor.

As to the judge's, "...Miss Carter took no actions … She called no one...," I have a Massachusetts byline, not a Vermont byline. To my knowledge, there is no duty to rescue in that state.

So the defendant is being scapegoated for major factors not under her control, in violation of Fifth Amendment procedural due process right to a fair hearing.

In addition, she is being subjected to outcome bias, another violation of her due process right.  The failure to raise this argument should be lawyer malpractice because it is ubiquitous.

I am not going to invent a duty. However, here is a potential one.

In the greatest achievement in psychiatry of the 20th Century that no one knows about, not even psychiatrists, the prisons of the United States dropped their suicide rate by 80%, at no expense, with no new staffing, no programs, no treatment. It was not done by psychiatrists, but by prison wardens. Eyesight supervision. Period.

This victim tried to off himself several times. His brain was not working right. His family had a duty to maintain eyesight supervision. Instead he was alone. He drove a truck. he found access to an engine. This is a ridiculous fuck up by the family. His psychiatrists should have informed them of this sole tactic to prevent suicide. His psychiatrist should have placed him on a major tranquilizer for his false belief that death would solve his problems. Once his depression had been more adequately treated, more aggressively treated, there is a 100% chance, with no known exception in history, that he would be glad he had not killed himself.

So the multi-factorial analysis to catastrophes applies to suicide as well.

Imagine dropping the national suicide number of 35000 people by 80% at no additional cost. Stop the bullshit of hotline, and talking. Stop the stupid hand wringing by toxic left wing assholes.

I do not want to diverge here into the aggressive and proper management of suicide, except to say, the wardens of the prisons of the United States discovered it, and it costs nothing. It should be a standard of due care for professionals and for the families of the suicidal.

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