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Making sense of the insanity defense

July 20, 2006

Re "Mental illness is not a crime," Opinion, July 16

The recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that allows states broader leeway in limiting an insanity defense saddened many in the mental health community. The families of the mentally ill are devastated because of these cruel and unjust laws. We as Americans have laws to protect animals. It's a disgrace that the mentally ill are disregarded. Who's sicker -- the mentally ill or the punisher?

GINA DURAN

National City, Calif.

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Using Jim Randall's reasoning, mentally ill people get free rein and may commit any crime, even murder, with abandon. I would not argue that 17-year-old Eric Michael Clark of Arizona is not mentally ill, but he is also guilty. He apparently was either untreated or undertreated, but either way, he killed someone. Our society allows mentally ill people to refuse medications and other treatment. As long as that is the status quo, when they commit a crime, they deserve trial and incarceration just as other people do, despite the rantings of apologists like Randall.

ARLENE MANEMANN

Tustin

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