Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Decisionism's One Punch

The Widget:

Court: SJC
Judge: Cordy
Subject: Appalling parenting
Tone: Revolted
Importance: 5.6
What does it really mean to be insane? We can all agree that a father who killed his ten month-old son after depriving him of solid food and mandating that the baby could only drink breast milk and water because he’d heard that proverbial message from God, we can all agree that this guy was just way out of his right mind. But can he be held criminally responsible for his actions?

The SJC decided today in Commonwealth v. Robidoux, No. SJC-09758 that he could, leading any sentient being to breathe a gargantuan sigh of relief. It did so in spite of the fact that insanity is a defense to first degree murder? What does it mean to be insane? As the Court states, “A person is not responsible for criminal conduct if at the time of such conduct as a result of mental disease or defect he lacks substantial capacity either to appreciate the criminality wrongfulness of his conduct or to conform his conduct to the requirements of law.” Mr. Robidoux’s actions after murdering his son sort of cut both ways here:

Robidoux placed Samuel's remains in a homemade casket and stored the casket in the bulkhead of a home belonging to one of his sisters for several months. On October 11, 1999, Robidoux [and some friends] went hiking in remote Baxter State Park in Maine, carrying a plywood casket that contained the remains of Samuel. After hiking for about seven hours, the group left the trail where they “felt comfortable.” There, 300 or 400 feet off the trail, they buried the caskets.*

Again (and either way): CRAZY, CRAZY MAN.

Decisionism’s college roommate often asked this hypothetical question: if you had one free punch that you could use on any human being without any repercussions, what would you do with it? Decisionism hereby reserves its one punch for Joel Robidoux.

*Yes, caskets. As in the plural of casket. Go read the decision if you want to learn more. Blecch.

No comments: