Emily, Your question brings up multiple issues. To begin with, on
what grounds does the government have the right to require church officials to
do anything? Freedom of religion means that the religion decides the actions,
roles and functions of its clergy, not the state. Secondly, at
least when this issue came up at the time of the competency hearing it seemed to
be alleged by some that Mitchell's then wife had brought up some of the
allegations with the police and they brushed her off. Thirdly,
there are actions that are morally wrong but not illegal.
Fourthly, do we really want religious leaders acting as auxiliaries of the
state. Is this not the common denounciation of the actions of some religious
leaders in Nazi Germany? It is hard enough for missionaries to make inroads in
some areas when they are falsely percieved as state agents. What if every
missionary who heard rumors of sexual contact between 13-year-olds and
18-year-olds, a clear case of statutory rape, reported it to the police? At one
point me and my companion actually confronted our mission president with this
It is easy to second-guess after the fact. Still, Mecham's testimony leads me
to wonder if pursuing charges against Mitchell within the Church to the point of
actually excommunicating him for his inapropriate behavior with his
step-children would not have been a better course. It just seems
that Mecham confronted Mitchell, he went off the dead-end, deseret Church and
since he was not present they decided to not push the issue more, creating a
lack of disciplinary action that made it possible for Mitchell to claim only
inactivity when he manipulated his way back into standing in the Church. This
seems to also possibly be why Mitchell thought he beat the system when he did
not show up to his excommunication hearing later on.It is very easy
to engage in these second guessings later on, especially in light of the later
actions and present accusations against Mitchell. It is hard to know exactly
what the charges against Mitchell that Mecham was presented with were, and
religious leaders primary function is not disciplining wrong-dorers but trying
to lead people to a better way.
Dr. Peterson's point about the one mighty and strong needs to be properly
considered. If claiming to be "The one mighty and strong" makes you
paranoid-schizophrenic, than there are a lot of such people in the
inter-Mountain west.However, taken the step further, despite there
being no lack of people having made this claim since at least 1890, Mitchell is
the only one to engage in out-right kipnapping, and throwing in Le Baron and
Lafferty to get three who have engaged in violent criminal activities of
kidnapping or murder leaves us with dozens who have not.DeMier also
ignores the whole independent polygamist phenomenon. Despite all the focus on
the FLDS and the attacks on their centralized and thus allegedly suppresive
structure deneying individual freedom, it is likely that in the intermountain
west plus Texas, Mexico and Western Canada the number of polygamists who
recognize and follow no authority being the husband/father or the group is at
least as large as those who are in larger Church organizations .DeMaier's claim that you need a follower or you are delussional just does not
work when applied on the ground.
I am still not convinced the eating of the rabbit was all that bad. The
pornographic images during prayer is the most disturbing though. On
the other hand I think the whole "Grease" incident shows that Mitchell
likes exercising pwoer. This is not to attack him for getting mad about Grease.
Instead it is to say that hisa method seems to boil down to exercising control.
There are multiple ways to pre-screen films to avoid such a show-down while
they are being shown, but a shown-down mid-movie is the most obvious assertion
of power, and that seems to be a clear motive of Mitchell.
@ I hear You:Does the criminal's rights also include avoiding the
actual FACTS of his behavior and past? I understand the law must be followed,
and the law provides for a defendant's side of the story to be told. However,
when the actions of the defense attorneys amount to nothing more than hiring an
"expert" to represent their position what they are actually doing is
hiring an actor to play a role. Why is it that regardless of a
criminal's actions, the defense is ALWAYS able to find someone to say their
client isn't guilty? If delving into a peron's mind was reliable, there wouldn't
be the contradiction.
If he is innocent from mental illness, he would have to not know that what he
did was illegal. I thinks that parading people out to show he's mentally ill or
not is stupid. He's obviously mentally ill. He showed that he knew what he did
was illegal because he made Elizabeth hide so people wouldn't see her & he
threatened her if she left.
Just look at all the victims here. These are some of the most sick and
disturbing stories I have ever heard in my life. People like Mitchell are
sorry excuses for human beings. I wish our tax dollars could be spend on a
mill stones hung around these peoples necks.People who sexually abuse
others have no reason to see the light of day ever again.
Utah has to many nit wit Judges sitting on the bench. They keep getting re
elected because they are the chosen ones. The ones that need to be thrown out
of office. The Utah Judicial Conduct Comission will not work for the People that
has a complaint. They do not care and the Govenor and Attorney General does not
care about the People in Utah. The Money this cost is directly aimed at the
Pockets of the polititians. Ripping off the system that is flawed. The Deseret
refuses to check out the actions of the court and make a big deal out of it to
get change for the people. Death is the only way to get rid of these Judges.
Re Hihopes "I feel it is not right that this trial is Open, she was a minor
when she had to go through"I agree. The irony is
that if the words "national security" are placed in front of her
testimony, then it wouldn't be public nor an open hearing.Something
is wrong with the American legal system. You should have kept the British one!
"..defense attorneys are someday the victim of one of these obviously
guilty people.."Although I don't particular like any kind of
lawyers, I think we should keep in mind that if Mitchell doesn't get a good and
proper defense here during this trial and he is convicted he may then get it
overturned on appeal based on that substandard defense, and then everyone has to
go through all this again including Miss Smart. Therefore the
defense is also helping out by not putting her through all this again, by doing
the best job they possibly can do and settling this matter now in 2010 and not
again during a retrial in 2014 or later.
America's court system once pursued truth and justice. The issue addressed in
the courts used to be the guilt or innocence of the accused.Now,
however, practice of the law has become a game of rules and technicalities
played between two competitive teams.My daughter worked in the
Public Defenders' Office a few years back and was sickened at the office
celebration and self-congratulation when the defense attorneys successfully
freed a guilty party.There is no one who believes Brian David
Mitchell to be innocent of the atrocities with which he is charged; not even the
defense team. But everyone is aware that our justice system has declined to the
point Mitchell could yet escape justice. Every selfish, cruel and heartless
criminal is a sicko. Society owes justice to their victims; not to the sadistic
The facts of this case a very evident, the only question is sane or insane. I
has become very clear that Mitchell knew what he was doing and he did it for his
own reasons.Some of those here seem to confuse vengance and justice,
and then to become angry when defense attorneys make sure that it is justice
being served.It has long been said that it is better for a thousand
guilty people go free than for one innocent man to be convicted. "Vengence
is mine sayeth the Lord" pretty well covers it. If Mitchell does somehow
avoid prison for a mental hospital, the Lord will still get him.Ease
up on the defense lawyers.
This guy needs prison "crazily bad". He is a bad man and a total D.
I am sick and tired of reading about the insanity defense of Brian Mitchell. The
guy's a pedophile, pervert, and totally in charge of his mental faculties. A
manipulator and someone who thrives on deception, lying, grandiosity, and doing
anything to assert his power over other people.The guy's a kook and
deserves to be put away for life, never to see the light of day for what he did
to Elizabeth Smart.
I find this so upsetting everyday that this nightmare goes on for Elizabeth. I
feel it is not right that this trial is Open , she was a minor when
she had to go through this ordeal and her privacy should be protected. Any kind of abuse is devastating and life changing I cannot imagine
the pain and anguishElizabeth is going through with details of her horrible ordeal in the media and do not understandwhy this case is not
restricted and closed. As for Mitchell he is a master minipulator he is running the show and the millions of dollarshe is costing the
state is ridiculous. My heart goes out to all the woman he has abused and it is
sad that the abuse just continues the longer this goes on as he
continues to get away with shinanigans that prolong the misery of this trial.I
hope Elizabeth finds strength in the days ahead She is beautiful. this is
a never ending tradgedy for her.
I would absolutely HATE being a defense attourney, especially in a case like
this where everyone knows that Mitchell is a sick man, not not mentally ill. I
won't be surprised if the dense needs therapy after this because it's so heated,
and rightfully so. Anyone who is that selfish that they would be willing to ruin
someone's life for personal self gratification needs to be locked up. Everyone
knows he is guilty. Arguing his "mental capacity" during the time the
crime took place doesn't justify a life time of bad decisions and selfish
behavior. He's trying to play people for fools. WAKE UP and do the right thing
jury. It's been long enough
Interesting insights....1) If the state court had allowed this guy
to be medicated while at the USH, a trajectory similar to Barzee's would have
ensued: medication leads to restoration to competence, competence leads to a
guilty plea, guilty=incarceration in federal prison (where his regimen of
medication would hopefully continue--I'm sorry people, this guy IS mentally
ill..)2) mentally ill people can still be cunning---cunning, lying
and manipulation do not preclude existence of mental illness, delusional people
have pockets of lucidity and can can still be highly organized and quite
functional, except when it involves their specific delusional cluster. 3) mental illness does not "legally insane" make. So far, experts
have characterized him "mentally ill," not incompetent.4)
the primary mental health expert that refutes the findings of the three defense
docs (who, by the way, net nothing financially and have paid a tremendous cost
in terms of harsh, misguided judgements), had, as of december, 2009, billed the
US attorney's office $500,000 for his work on the case. Don't think I can post a
link, but it appeared in the Deseret News 12/5/09/ by Pat Reavy.Really?
The world is a better place with Wanda in prison and it will be that much the
better when Mitchell gets introduced into the federal prison system where he
will eventually be forgotten by everybody except his victims.
Elizabeth, Gayler and Heidi, We are so sorry you had to endure such treatment
at the hands of this despicable man. Continue to know that none of this was
your fault, and that there are many good and honourable men in this world. May
your futures be bright, and may Mitchell receive the just consequences of his
This rebuttal testimony has pretty well sealed his fate. He will in a
likelihood be found guiltr and not insane. We will know soon,
This is both facinating and disheartening. I'm facinated with the line of
questions and thinking. I don't much care if he's declared 'insane' or
otherwise. Either way, he should not be permitted to spend another day roaming
free in society. Whether he dies in a mental institution or the state prison, I
don't care. I just don't want him to have another opportunity to wreak havoc on
another life.I'm disheartended that the defense is permitted to put
witnesses on the stand that offer opinions when they really don't know what the
heck they're talking about. Isn't there an 'honesty' meter or an 'informed
opinion' meter? I hope the jury is wise enough to filter through the crap and
get to the heart of the matter. Mr. Mitchell should spend the rest
of his life separated from society, whether by jail or mental institution, it
mattereth not to me.
Mitchell is neurotic, but that is not psychotic (unable to discern reality). If
this circus and its clowns, think Dr. Whitehead, does not end soon it will
further tarnish this state.
So his book resulted to be a copy cat?HA!Also, I guess
if somebody reads a book and can't understand.. that makes the book's author's
book insane? ... I wonder if dr. Whitehead (or whatever his name was) read a
book from Einstein, would he declare Einstein insane too? That doctor is a joke.
How can there be a deadline for a trial? At the very least, extermely
unprofessional conduct by the judge. Telling the lawyers to "Hurry
up" could jeopardize the case itself.
RE: EmilyThey are required to report sexual abuse. Although the laws
have changed during the years and they have not always been.
Thank you for changing the headline. My previous comment makes no sense with
the new one, but that's a good thing. Again, I think there is plenty of
evidence that this perpetrator was, unfortunately, not "insane" but
rather narcissistic and cunning.
Are LDS church officials not required to report sexual abuse to the authorities?
It is difficult to think that someone who is guilty of a crime might get off. I
think it's more difficult though to think about someone being judged in the
court of public opinion. Most defense attorneys are not trying to
circumvent laws or do anything illegal. They are doing the job which keeps our
system in check, they are helping the accused explain either how they didn't do
that which they are accused or how they did it and cannot be responsible based
on accepted reasons. For this person to not have competent
representation would be a true loss for all Americans. I just remind myself that
while at times our less than perfect (but better than most) system might fail,
there are eternal consequences for all choices.
The psychiatrists that believe Mitchell is mentally ill are basing their
assessment solely on their conversations with Mitchell. Mitchell is outsmarting
these psychiatrists like he did multiple police officers.I am glad
to hear the prosecution discussing evidence outside of conversations Mitchell
has had with psychiatrists after his arrest. I'm looking forward to hearing
other psychiatrists address that a mentally ill person would not be capable
knowing right from wrong every hour of every day for nine consecutive months!
I love Daniel Peterson! :-)(A grateful FARMS Review reader.)
I too, am often very disappointed in our legal system that sometimes allows the
guilty to escape the consequences of their actions.But I am also
often mistrustful of those in power, so I like to see this power checked by
making the bar very high to hurdle, thus making it difficult for malicious
prosecutors to use the legal system to put innocent people behind bars.There are plenty of defense attorneys that disgust me, but I do not wish them
and their families ill by hoping they become a victim of one of their
defendants.Such thoughts are not very Christian.
Dear Rabbit, I understand your dislike of defense attorneys but please remember
that the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty is what the American
vision of justice in our constitution is about. The right to an attorney who
truly has a duty to represent your interests as a defendant sets us apart from
other systems (think Iran or China). The defense, in this case, has not disputed
the facts, just the sanity of their client. Doing any less would be a breach of
I think some Dr. who does not know the LDS doctrine and is not familiar with
'LDS speak' could mistakenly think a character like Mitchell was 'mentally ill'.
This sorry piece of humanity chose somewhere along the way to follow another
path. What he chose to do, was right because it was something he had chosen to
do. That's call self indulgent, absorbed and selfish. Such find great delight
in manipulating those who are in charge, like police, doctors, lawyers, and
judges. He needs to go to prison, amongst the general population, he will
adjust, just as he did at the hospital.
That's a pretty unfortunate and provocative headline. A more honest headline
would have said something like "Mitchell is a rational predator
manipulating beliefs in a coherent and intelligent way" since that is more
in line with what the witness said. The witness is testifying that he can spout
religious doctrines in a reasonable way in order to help prevent a miscarriage
of justice where Mitchell just sings his way to alleged "insanity".Oh well, the headline worked and it got me to click on it. I just don't
appreciate the wording is all.
I think the "defense" would like to file a motion to exclude anyone
who might have evidence which shows Mitchell's guilt!I find it funny
that "good" defense attorneys are those which are able to get the most
obviously guilty criminals to be found not guilty. They will even brag about
being able to get guilty people off! My only hope is that these
"good" defense attorneys are someday the victim of one of these
obviously guilty people! I wonder what they will think of their
I think since one of the defense witnesses implied that this was Mitchells first
sex offense (saying it was unusual for a person to have their first felony sex
offense when they are older) that the prosecution should be able to list all his
previous offenses. You shouldn't be able to imply that being a pedophile is a
new thing when it has been your life story.