Category Archives: Photos

LIONEL PODCAST: Humanizing and Destigmatizing Mental Illness

We’re medieval. In our appreciation for and of mental illness, MI hereinafter. MI also tends to destigmatize. I respectfully submit that confusion and an almost criminal nescience are really the underlying bases for such profound misunderstanding as to MI. And nowhere is this seen better than in the courtroom via the astigmatic lens of criminal jurisprudence. In the matters of the insanity defense and NGRI courts have adopted and applied four — you heard me, four — essential standards and rules, all described herein. The M’Naghten Test, Durham Rule, Irresistible Impulse Test and Model Penal Code Test. In this podcast I attempt to explain how these tests seem quite different and easily accessible and applicable, but they fail to address the issues that are present in many crimes. In addition, I discuss what has to be done to change the way the law and psychiatry meet and merge and meld.

Scary doesn’t inspire empathic. In the case of those suffering from MI who’ve been incarcerated and have long criminal records and especially those who’ve exhibited violent traits and behaviors, empathy and sympathy are hard to come by. And one of the reasons is the very heart of the psychiatric diagnosis — it’s not tangible, readable, replicable, obvious and/or universally recognized. It’s not like a shattered femur, easily seen on X-ray, or the image of a tumor that a radiologist can easily and immediately read and, moreover, will be acknowledged and verified and agreed with by other radiologists. Psychiatric diagnoses don’t lend themselves to such uniform and accepted certainty. Perhaps until now. Enter imagery, PET scans and watch the explosion and evolution in the science of MI.

Advocacy angels. There are so many incredible individuals and organizations and efforts to address MI issues and remove the stigma that is so often associated it.

  • The incredible work of my dear friend and esteemed jurist Judge Sol Wachtler and The North Shore-LIJ Health System’s Foundation and Law & Psychiatry Institute.
  • The National Alliance on Mental Illness of New York City (NAMI-NYC Metro), a grassroots organization providing support, education and advocacy for individuals and their families of all ethnic and socioeconomic strata who live with MI.
  • May I also commend to you the work of Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, the Lawrence C. Kolb Professor and Chairman of Psychiatry at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and Director of the New York State Psychiatric Institute. He’s the author of Shrinks: The Untold Story of Psychiatry that “traces the field from its birth as a mystic pseudo-science through its adolescence as a cult of “shrinks” to its late blooming maturity.”
  • Dr. Eric Kandel and Charlie Rose for the Brain Series. Bravo!
  • Dr. Nora Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) at the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Volkow pioneered the use of brain imaging to investigate the toxic effects and addictive properties of abusable drugs.  Her studies have documented changes in the dopamine system affecting, among others, the functions of frontal brain regions involved with motivation, drive, and pleasure in addiction.
  • And no list of estimable contributions to the field would be complete without mention of a personal favorite of mine, James Fallon, author of The Psychopath Inside: A Neuroscientist’s Personal Journey into the Dark Side of the Brain. It details how Fallon, while studying brain scans to search for patterns that correlated with psychopathic behavior, found that his own brain fit the profile like the proverbial glove. One of the most frightening Eureka! moments in the history of science.

 

What Ferguson Doesn’t and Didn’t Mean

WHAT FERGUSON DOESN’T MEAN

by

LIONEL

Let’s be very clear about something regarding the tragedy that was Ferguson. And clarity is something desperately needed. It’s critical to note what the case does not mean.

The grand jury’s refusal or reluctance or inability to indict Officer Darren Wilson, i.e. by returning a “no true bill” on a host of charges from murder to involuntary manslaughter, doesn’t mean that another grand jury cannot be reassembled to indict because double jeopardy does not apply. (Double jeopardy attaches when a petit jury is sworn.)

It doesn’t mean that Officer Wilson wasn’t a bad cop or negligent or racist or incompetent. It doesn’t mean that Ferguson is not a hotbed of intolerance. It merely means that a grand jury did not find probable cause (PC) to indict. And as burdens of proof go, PC is notoriously simple to overcome. I contend a more contemporary definition of PC is “He probably did it.” And, yes, it’s significant to note that not a single charge was found to satisfy PC. Nothing. Especially in view of the esteemed New York jurist Sol Wachtler’s now famous quip that a good prosecutor could indict a ham sandwich.

It doesn’t mean that Bob McCulloch was an inept prosecutor or held back evidence or that the evidence was in and of itself insufficient. It doesn’t mean that Wilson will not be found civilly liable in a host of potential lawsuits and it doesn’t mean that the failure to find criminal liability in any way precludes civil liability exposure. It doesn’t mean that witnesses were necessarily lying or perjurious. They can and often change their minds, forget and experience different perceptions of the same events.

It doesn’t mean that McCulloch should have necessarily appointed or requested a special prosecutor, though in retrospect it might have been wise. It doesn’t mean that his familial relationships with police somehow disqualify him as a prosecutor. Try finding one who doesn’t have strong ties to cops. It doesn’t mean that Michael Brown asked to be killed or is a thug or a criminal. No, the lack of criminal charges, the deliver of no true bill doesn’t mean anything other than no criminal liability was found. A radiologist who scans an X-ray and announces no evidence of bone fracture doesn’t mean that a patient isn’t hurt or in pain or limping. A negative pregnancy test doesn’t mean that no one had sex or that a rape didn’t occur.

Many civilian observers have quickly realized that criminal law and real life prosecutions aren’t Law & Order. And I daresay they’re shocked. Shocked at what many of us who’ve served in the M*A*S*H units of the DA’s office and trial warrior trenches have known for years: the system exhibits many iterations from surgically precise to reckless and inept. The grand jury was theoretically designed to act as a buffer, a detached and separate tribunal to protect us from a marauding crown. And it’s fraught with problems.

Historically the grand jury is the prosecutor’s tool. And interestingly enough, now making the rounds is SCOTUS Justice Antonin Scalia’s 1992 opinion in Williams. It’s been quoted (interestingly enough) by the same folks who until recently most probably reviled him. He noted that historically “neither in this country nor in England has the suspect under investigation by the grand jury ever been thought to have a right to testify or to have exculpatory evidence presented.” Touché, Nino. The Williams court refused to dismiss an indictment where exculpatory evidence was not introduced. Here, in a most novel approach, it seems the juridical vigilantes want an indictment delivered because too much exculpatory evidence was presented. Go figure.

The grand jury’s decision anent the tragedy that is the death of Michael Brown doesn’t mean anything other than PC as to criminal liability was not found, seen, presented or allowed to be established. That’s it in a nutshell. It’s time to take a breath and continue to demand accountability from all police departments everywhere and always. And if you’re up to the challenge, Google “Kelly Thomas,” the case of a schizophrenic homeless man who was beaten to death by two Fullerton, California, cops who were ultimately acquitted. There were no riots in protest.

Now imagine the reaction to an acquittal in Wilson’s trial had it been permitted to go forward.

 

LIONEL PODCAST: I Wish You Freedom & Unrelenting Liberty

On behalf of Mrs. Lionel and me, we wish you and yours excessive and unrelenting liberty and freedom. Freedom to do what you want, whenever you want for as long as you want provided it doesn’t involve small children or scare the horses.

And thank you for subscription to these podcasts and parting with your hard earned money. It is appreciated.

Please let me invade your ears and corrode your mind with the truth contained in this here podcast. And for years to come.

Piece,

LIONEL
Logodaedalus & Expert

Great Names of Products

I snapped this in my local Vitamin Shoppe. I love the sinistral version: ESPECIALLY FOR MEN. Smooth.

We’re Watching You and You Will Learn to Love It!

In a post 9/11 world, we Americans abnegated all of our privacy concerns and have handed over to the police unfettered and limitless abilities to monitor, watch and keep us “safe.” It’s part of a bigger problem. We’ve lost our guard, not lowered it. We’ve lost it. Here’s the omnipresent police surveillance truck that is able to be telescoped above the Times Square crowds to keep an eye on us. It’s the systematic desensitization of us to the nature and notion of surveillance. It’s a post Patriot Act, post FISA, post domestic surveillance war on terror. And we, you, want more.