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Who’s Crazy:  Nancy Grace or Jodi Arias?

I just love watching the talking heads on HLN trying to spin something interesting out of totally dead air time when a trial should be going but isn’t.  Hmmm…how can we pad this empty space?  OK, Jack, run the old clips of the trial and portions of Arias’ interview!  Then send a reporter out to the jail to talk about the conditions.  Back to you, Jane!  Jane Velez-Mitchell is attempting armchair psychology on Arias.  She’s trying to say she’s got DID (the new name for multiple personality disorder), but she doesn’t know her DSM IV, and it comes out garbled.  (And BTW, Jane, your dye job is showing.  Time to touch up those black roots!)

Then Nancy (Dis) Grace tries to paint a picture of luxury for Arias, who’s now on suicide watch in the psych ward of the jail.  Listen, Nancy, you don’t have a clue what conditions a suicidal pre-trial detainee is held in!  When someone is put on suicide watch, they are “stripped out,” and placed in a cell with nothing in it.  They have no clothes on; they are put in a vest which barely covers their butt.  They don’t have soap, towels, toilet paper, reading material, or even bedding.  And no, Nancy, they do NOT have their own TV!

Some people have been saying that Jodi is crazy from the very beginning of the trial, and now others are repeating that assertion because she said she would rather die than spend what’s left of her life in prison.  Let’s examine this for a moment.  What’s at stake is whether or not we think a person has the right to control their own body.  Jodi is perfectly competent to decide whether she wants to live or die.  Under most circumstances, jailers want to keep their prisoners alive so that they can be further tortured through the “just-us” system.  It’s a failure on their part if their prisoners turn up dead.  (However, some “suicides” are actually how the system rids itself of troublesome inmates and covers up its own misdeeds.)

Why not allow Jodi to choose to skip the aggravation and mitigation phases and go straight to prison?  Mitigation is where a convicted prisoner attempts to convince the same jury which just convicted them to show mercy on them because they are mentally ill, retarded, or had an abusive childhood.  This concept only makes sense to lawyers; to the public, it’s ludicrous.  Most people don’t understand that there are so many safeguards to protect a defendant’s rights that a death sentence many times is not carried out.  Instead, while the case goes through three levels of appeal in Arizona, both the inmate’s and victim’s families are subjected to a unique kind of torture.  The inmate may get close to execution repeatedly, only to have it called off at the last minute.  Arizona has not executed a woman on death row for 30 years.  Debra Milke, who has spent over 20 years in prison, just had her conviction overturned by the 9th Circuit of Appeals Court, and will likely be released soon!

The system will not allow Jodi to choose anything; it will subject her to further trial because that’s the way she is shown she is in control of nothing.  Prisoners are not “stripped out” because the jail cares about them; it’s done so they know they are NOT in control.  Maybe having nothing in their cell and being naked makes them think about something other than suicide?  I don’t know how this could be motivational.  Ask a psychologist if this works!  It seems to me that being “stripped out” is punishment for being depressed.  Like many things done by the incarceration industry, it makes no sense to those of us who are still partially free.

Jodi has the right to decide whether she wants to live behind bars or die.  The system will not allow her any freedom, even to decide what is a natural right.