Attorneys want Elizabeth Smart's kidnapper sent to mental health facility, instead of prison

They also argue that Smart wasn't that psychologically damaged

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  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    July 8, 2011 3:03 p.m.

    Ms. Molli,
    Good defense should not extend to attacking the character of victims. There are far too many sleazy lawyers involved in defending rapists and it is high time someone speak out against such use of unethical tactics to mitigate the crime of rape and marginalize its victims.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    July 8, 2011 2:56 p.m.

    Basically Steele is arguing that since Miss Smart managed to overcome the suffering inflicted on her by Mitchell he should be punished less severly. The results do not determine how severe something was, the testimony clearly showed the evils inflicted on Miss Smart were severe and the claim that Mitchell should be treated lightly because his best efforts failed to permanently break Miss Smart strikes me as an inherently sleazy argument.

  • Trooper55 Williams, AZ
    May 19, 2011 7:59 a.m.

    It amazes me to what ends lawyers will go to get their client a reduce sentence. I would like to know what gives them right to say this young lady hasn't suffer. A man that would kidnap a 14 year old and rapes her more time than can be counted should get life in prison, without parole reguardless where his time is spent.

  • cindyacre Shelley, ID
    May 18, 2011 5:47 p.m.

    The defense lawyers want more job security.

  • Rifleman Salt Lake City, Utah
    May 18, 2011 12:05 p.m.

    Brian David Mitchell has done just fine in the Salt Lake County jail both during and after his trial while awaiting sentencing. He should do just fine in a high security federal prison. For cleanliness and security reasons they should be required to shave that beard.

  • BobP Port Alice, B.C.
    May 18, 2011 11:34 a.m.

    Mitchell is not insane, he is an abuser.

    The role of a defense lawyer with an unpopular defendant is difficult indeed. He has fairly limited resources with which to work, and he is pitted against all of the might and power of the state. His duty is to give his client the best possible defense and if saying unpopular things is necessary so be it.

    He must not subborn perjury or deliberately mislead the court but otherwise he must do his darndest.

    If the very worst of us cannot get a good defence then the very best of us are in trouble.

  • Miss Piggie SLC, Utah
    May 18, 2011 11:11 a.m.

    Ms Molli: "Had the author of this article provided just a little background information and explained the significance of "extreme psychological injury" I think the readers of this article would have had a much better understanding of why the defense is doing this."

    The problem is, Ms Molli, the psychological injury could and probably will come years later. The young mind is very resilient. It is impossible to stop reflecting back on the horrendous incident in years to come, especially when the victim will desire marriage and then children via the very process that was her daily nightmare using force.

  • KSUBYU Yucca Valley, CA
    May 18, 2011 11:09 a.m.

    It has taken years for us to SEE the effects of molestation on our child. It has touched every person she knows in psychological ways. Every emotion from hate to vengeance. resentment. Our child has a hard time knowing what's "normal" and what is part of growing-up. It was so pervasive and disruptive to our "natural progression" as a family. It has taken hours and hours and hours of counseling and ultimately Divine intervention to get on an even keel and to be healed. It will take a very special man to be the husband of such a girl. Until you experience it, you really cannot know.

  • Alfred SLC, Utah
    May 18, 2011 10:54 a.m.

    @On the other hand: "Remember that the constitution grants Mr. Mitchell the right to a fair trial, and if his lawyers didn't pursue every possible avenue on his behalf..."

    Yes, but these lawyers have moved into the realm of the bizarre with their assertion.

  • Liberal Ted Salt Lake City, UT
    May 18, 2011 10:53 a.m.

    I suppose osama was just temporarily insane when he planned, funded, trained terroists to hijack the airplanes. With this defense osama should have just gone to a mental institution. Since most Americans got on with their lives and didn't go insane.

    I wonder if the defense would use this same argument if it was his daughter that was kidnapped by mitchell and used as a "wife".

  • EgbertThrockmorton Layton, UT
    May 18, 2011 10:26 a.m.

    Defense counsel's assertions that Miss Smart hasn't "suffered" and that the predator that kidnapped,attacked and held her hostage, needs a mental hospital instead of prison is incredulous. Of course, these guys would be right at home defending the torturing and murder of the Jews, Gypsies and other "undesirables" and atrocities of the Nazis. It appears that BDM's defense counsel seems to think the Nazis weren't "so bad after all" either, by their "analogy" of Miss Smart in this case. Reprehensible indeed.

  • Liberal Ted Salt Lake City, UT
    May 18, 2011 10:11 a.m.

    What should happen to mitchell, I'm sure the deseret news wouldn't allow me to type it. So I'll leave that up to your imagination.

    The man is guilty of a horrific crime. So does Elizabeth need to go crazy for the rest of her life, go into a shell, and never live another day to justify punishing mitchell?

    mitchell needs to go to prison and get the special treatment that is given to people who harm little children.

    I'm glad Elizabeth is moving on with her life. She said that she won't give him another day. But, I'm sure there are times when she has to relive it in her mind and is always sickened by what happened.

    It's time that victims have rights. We're too worried about those being tried that the victim is forgotten. Not this time. mitchell needs to go to prison. Drop this insane defense and get him sentenced! The attorney just proves how insane they both are with this type of argument.

  • MoJules Florissant, MO
    May 18, 2011 9:56 a.m.

    I would make that a contingency, that he only goes, if his attorneys go with them, cause they are also crazy to think that Elizabeth was not affected by the ordeal.

  • skylinestar saltlake city, utah
    May 18, 2011 8:26 a.m.

    being kidnapped and raped is as serious
    it can get Mitchell took her innocents away!!

    mitchell should get -help- and serve some time away from society.

  • Justmythoughts Richfield, UT
    May 17, 2011 7:38 p.m.

    This is the MAIN reason why people hate attorneys. How ridiculus.

  • Ms Molli Bountiful, Utah
    May 17, 2011 7:37 p.m.

    220zn? You claim to be an expert witness but apparently have no idea about the federal sentencing guidelines. Oh brother ....

  • David B. Cedar City, UT
    May 17, 2011 7:37 p.m.

    I wonder what color is the sky that are on these defense attorneys planet? The way they handled their jobs from the start they should be in prison with the defendant! I've dealt with this kind of situation like a couple of other posts have stated and nobody comes out of it unscathed.The better the support she gets the easier it is to cope.But no way she wasn't affected by this. Just look at the case the girl that was held for 19 year and brutally raped producing 2 kids out in California.

  • 22ozn44ozglass Southern Utah, UT
    May 17, 2011 7:10 p.m.

    Ms Molli:

    The prosecution is basing their position on mountains of respected research that all bolster their postion. The defense's postion is NOT supported by the vast majority of licensed mental health professionals. If the defense attorney who is actually a lay person in this situation wants to say what is or is not psychologically damaging to children and his or her position is not supported by vast numbers of licenced accredited professionals and volumes of peer reviewed studies, they desreve to be ridiculed and mocked.

    Once again after sitting through a number of child sex abuse cases testifying as an expert witness, I can tell you that defense attorneys regularlly try to practice psychology without a license and that they will do and say anything regardless of whether it is true or based in any sense of reality.

    The defense attorneys are lying in this case and in a years time heaven forbid if one of their daughers was subjected to what Ms Smart went through, they would change their position on the issue rather abruptly.

    What specific chapter and section of the Federal Guidelines are you basing your claims upon?

  • LKIdler Saint John NB, NB
    May 17, 2011 6:57 p.m.

    Just lock up the bottom feeder and throw away the key and forget about him! The Supreme Judge knows how to deal with him better than any one on Earth can even conjure up!

  • cowshed Provo, Utah
    May 17, 2011 6:56 p.m.

    Even if the trauma suffered by Elizabeth herself were not enough to merit a life sentence for Mitchell, which I believe it is, and then some, the trauma suffered by Elizabeth's little sister and the rest of the family for many months of not knowing what had become of her is, in itself, enough to merit a life sentence.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    May 17, 2011 6:25 p.m.

    Heh, I meant to type "like" instead of "lie" in my last post though it's an amusing error.

  • LKIdler Saint John NB, NB
    May 17, 2011 6:21 p.m.

    No one knows how much damage is done! When I was 14, a 12 year old girl in our town in Canada was kidnapped and imprisoned for 6 months. The perp was also abusing my friend who was his step daughter. She told me about it several months before the missing girl was rescued. My mother forbade me to report it. It was 30+ years, before I started having psychological symptoms! The triggers came as I gained knowledge. Then three years ago I found a terrified 5 year old former Primary student, in a parking lot and prayerfully took his hand, and returned him to loving arms. I was, by that time, praying about feelings of guilt for not reporting my school friend's disclosure, to the police. I no longer feel guilt because I was a child obeying her mother, but I'm still affected when I see that dear little boy at church. I rescued him, but I didn't rescue my friend or the 12 year old her step father kidnapped.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    May 17, 2011 6:20 p.m.

    To uphold the law of the nation attorneys have to give their best efforts whether they lie it or not. That's why there were lawyers for suspected terrorists. Someone has to do the unpleasant job of representing them in court. That's part of what makes America America.

  • donquixote84721 Cedar City, UT
    May 17, 2011 6:17 p.m.

    Sister Smart's like of psychological damage is a sign of her own personal interstrenth, not Mitchel's harming her.

  • mecr Bountiful, UT
    May 17, 2011 6:16 p.m.

    Can we write a letter to the judge to let him know what the people think about this? I mean, after all, the case title is "the people of USA vs BDM", right?

    I think the judge needs to hear what the people think about this matter and what we think this BDM deserves as a sentence.

  • JSB Sugar City, ID
    May 17, 2011 6:10 p.m.

    I'm not a lawyer so I am confused about the profession. Is the defenses responsibility to see that the defendant gets a fair trial or are they to use any underhanded, mean, cruel, deceptive means possible to see that the guilty go free?

  • runwasatch Ogden, UT
    May 17, 2011 6:07 p.m.

    I say, let's give Mitchell 9 months rotating between the cells of 3 very lonely lifers at the state pen...and if he comes out of that without any mental issues beyond what is normally expected, then, and only then, consider Elizabeth's strength in sentencing.

  • ih8bella West Jordan, Utah
    May 17, 2011 6:06 p.m.

    President Abraham Lincoln wasn't that killed.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    May 17, 2011 5:40 p.m.

    and attorneys wonder why they are held in such contempt by the population at large

  • Moracle Blackshear, GA
    May 17, 2011 5:39 p.m.

    Is that how we are to judge people for their crimes now? If someone commits a crime against you and you don't go looney over it; it's somehow, no longer a crime?

  • Zoni Tucson, AZ
    May 17, 2011 5:39 p.m.

    99% of the lawyers give the other 1% a bad name.

  • Bifftacular Spanish Fork, Ut
    May 17, 2011 5:32 p.m.

    In other words, since Elizabeth, through incredible fortitude, willpower, perseverance, and divine intervention was able to overcome the abuse, numb-nuts Mitchell should get a pass of some sort. And lawyers wonder why there are so many jokes about them.

  • AllBlack Sydney, NSW
    May 17, 2011 5:10 p.m.

    Its seems true that Smart didn't suffer "Extreme psychological injury" since she's been able to serve a full time mission, testified well, even have a normal interview with Oprah!!!

    However it just seems wrong that her recovery and lack of 'extreme' injury should be used as a mitigating factor in sentencing Mitchell. But then again the law is made by and run by 'lawyers' so it shouldn't surprise anyone when this happens.

  • O'really Idaho Falls, ID
    May 17, 2011 5:02 p.m.

    Simply outrageous! So she is a tough gal who had lots of family support to recover when she was rescued. Does that make the crime of kidnapping and rape less wrong?

  • Aggielove Junction city, Oregon
    May 17, 2011 4:51 p.m.

    I believe this is a sign of things to come inthis nation.we are talking about a high profile case here. This will not go away quietly.
    But,if she was saved by the grace of our heavenly father, or phsyc issues, its just because she comes from what seem to be good stock. Conclusion. Others wouldnt of faired as well under the same situation.

  • justfine Vernal, UT
    May 17, 2011 4:49 p.m.

    What happened to Elizabeth Smart has haunted a whole community. This story scares my daughters so badly. Because of this, they can't sleep at night with the windows unlocked. Elizabeth Smart is a REMARKABLE woman. She should not be punished for what she has overcome and for being strong. Give me a break!

  • Ms Molli Bountiful, Utah
    May 17, 2011 4:44 p.m.

    Response to 220zn -- if you were to do just about 5 minutes of research you will find that the sentencing guidelines in federal court allow for a showing of "extreme psychological injury" to the victim as a way to depart from the sentencing guidelines and give a harsher sentence. Mitchell was convicted in federal court. Obviously if you believe that the defense attorneys don't have the authority, background or credentials to make such a judgment, then you must also believe that the prosecuting attorneys also cannot make such a judgment. Well the lawmakers obviously believe otherwise since the federal statutes provide for this. Again, the defense is simply doing its job here. Had the author of this article provided just a little background information and explained the significance of "extreme psycholgical injury" I think the readers of this article would have had a much better understanding of why the defense is doing this.

  • Montana Mormon Miles City, MT
    May 17, 2011 4:40 p.m.

    Please, tell me it ain't so!!!

    And what, pray tell, does the lawyer mean by "that" damaged by the horrific ordeal Elizabeth had to endure. What an embarrassment to the legal profession and to this country's justice system.

    There's not much else to do but shake my head in disgust.

  • 22ozn44ozglass Southern Utah, UT
    May 17, 2011 4:00 p.m.

    Ms Molli:

    So long as attorneys make such unfounded claims, they deserve every bit of critique, ridicule and condemnation that they get. Please document all of the peer reviewed studies that support these defense attorneys claims? Please show use where these defense attorneys based their claims upon the findings of an objective panel of respected licsenced mental health professionals. If an attorney makes a claim that flies in the face of countless peer reviewed studies on this issue, they are practicing outside their liciense.

    What part of the JD degree and licence to practice law gives an attorney the legal,proper authority, academic training and credentials to claim that this young woman was not psychologically damaged by being raped repeatedly by Mitchell?

    If these defense attorneys really believed this tripe, have them let us set their 11-14 yr old daughters up with Mr Mitchell for a few dates/conjugal prison visits? After all what Mitchell wants to do to them will not psychologically damage their daughers any more than it did Ms Smart.

    The defense attorneys do not have the authority, background, academic credentials or license to say what was or was not pscyhlogoclaly damaging to Ms Smart.

  • bobosmom small town, Nebraska
    May 17, 2011 2:52 p.m.

    Im glad that Ms Smart has had the love and support of her family and friends. I hope that BDM doesnt ever see the light of day. God bless her. She is a survivor.

  • Vince the boonies, mexico
    May 17, 2011 1:50 p.m.

    In my opinion a life sentence is way too good for this animal, and why should taxpayers continue to pay for the sustainment of life after paying all these years for his defense? Just when is enough-enough? Defense attorneys should be limited in capital cases when the proof is as certain as this case to very limited time and cost. This family should be the ones that after the case has been settled to determine his punishment. Rehab is not possible so whats the sense for a life sentence. What a terrible judicial system we have today, yesterday he would have been hung in the town square and the case closed. Do the same with humans as we do with sick and deranged animals! End of story.

  • ouisc Farmington, UT
    May 17, 2011 1:32 p.m.

    Like Ed Smart eluded to, these kinds of comments are common in our "circus-like" legal system. (I added "circus-like".) So the defense can say whatever they want, but the bottom line is that Elizabeth found a way to survive, has a very caring and supportive (and inspiring) family, turned to her religeon for healing, and has had the means to obtain the psychological assistance she needed. She has overcome and defeated the cowardly Brian David Mitchell.

    Unfortunately, a girl without the great support system Elizabeth has had may not be able to overcome such crimes.

  • eastcoastcoug Danbury, CT
    May 17, 2011 1:15 p.m.

    I wonder what these lawyers would think if it had been their own daughter...

    Kudos to Elizabeth for doing all that she has done. Who really knows what this young woman has to live with. She will be a tremendous strength to all those who suffer in similar ways.

  • MrsH Altamont, UT
    May 17, 2011 1:12 p.m.

    "Typical in these kinds of cases" or not, this is ridiculous.

    You go, Elizabeth and the Smart family!
    Go on to have wonderful, productive lives. Don't let him keep on hurting you.

  • paulw Springville, UT
    May 17, 2011 1:06 p.m.

    I thought the attorneys were quoting the Smarts and the prosecutors? If all they were doing is quoting the Smarts and the prosecutors, perhaps all this vitriol is misdirected.

    When it comes right down to it, though, everyone knows these crimes were horrible. Frankly, this sentencing hearing jockeying is a nonstory.

  • EJM Herriman, UT
    May 17, 2011 12:18 p.m.

    From the postings on here it seems most of the posters suffered great psychological trauma just reading about what took place to Ms.Smart and while she has recovered well and is moving forward, many on here can't/won't let it go. Many on here are playing their own "victim" card.

    With that said, there is a reason why we have the judicial system that we do have. So that all possible stones can be overturned for the defense, no matter how hideous the crime. If any of us were accused of a crime, wrongfully or rightfully so, we would want to use any and all possible defenses to keep ourselves out of prison (or in this case a life sentence).

  • Ms Molli Bountiful, Utah
    May 17, 2011 11:25 a.m.

    To Dodge, Your assumption that victims don't mean much in my book is wrong. What you are arguing about is the way the system works. If you don't like the way the system works, then do something about it. Get on your high horse and try to change it instead of sitting back complaining about it. In the meantime, the attorneys on both sides need to work within the rules in place. Ms Smart's attorneys will have an opportunity to argue what the defense counsel is saying -- and I'm sure they will do a very good job of it. But as I said, let the lawyers do their job to the best of their abilities and stop making such silly attacks that some people don't care about victims simply because they want a defendant to receive the best possible defense in order to fend off possible appeals in the future.

  • Go Big Blue!!! Bountiful, UT
    May 17, 2011 11:18 a.m.

    Any attorney that could even make such a statement should be charged with something. Absolutely unbelievable!

    Kidnapped in the dead of night, raped daily, threatened to have her family murdered, forced to take drugs, forced to drink, forced to live in horendous living conditions, etc.

    But I guess the fact that a prophet was inspired to pick a strong enough victim that has been able to survive such atrocities means that all of those crimes really were not that bad?

  • TJ Eagle Mountain, UT
    May 17, 2011 11:13 a.m.

    Criminal defense lawyers < Morons.

    This is one of the most ridiculous things I have heard. I hope the judge is smart enough to laugh them out of the courtroom. How can anyone ever take these lawyers serious again.

  • Two Cents Springville, Utah
    May 17, 2011 10:49 a.m.

    This is why most of us would never make good lawyers. I couldn't live with myself if I had to do this day in and day out.

    P.S. Wanda Barzee was not an equal party in the kidnapping, planning, execution of all of BDM's dastardly deeds. BDM gave her all of those false revelations so she would play along. She was/is a weak-minded puppet. BDM is responsible for what happened to Ms. Smart. LIFE sentence.

  • BOY BLUE South Salt Lake, UT
    May 17, 2011 10:44 a.m.

    How are we going to believe Mitchell's attorneys when that memory scars of Elizabeth Smart still under repairing phases? It will take a lifetime of treatments to overcome that nightmarish moments of camping experiences.

  • Dodge Phoenix, AZ
    May 17, 2011 10:35 a.m.

    Why Ms Molli - what's it like to be just as deranged as the defense lawyers who lie awake night thinking up ways to get monsters such as Mitchell the freedom they need to keep on doing what they like best - raping, attacking, murdering innocent civilians and children. Go live with the likes of Mitchell. He doesn't deserve all the breaks the courts have given him thus far. I guess victims don't mean anything in your book, huh.

  • ute alumni Tengoku, UT
    May 17, 2011 10:30 a.m.


    why don't you spend 9 months of captivity with me and we'll see how you feel about psychological damage

  • Super Trooper SLC, UT
    May 17, 2011 10:23 a.m.

    And in more news......lawyers go to school for YEARS to do what?

    And they wonder why there are so many lawyer jokes......or was it joke lawyers.

    May 17, 2011 10:23 a.m.

    Put the attorneys behind bars for even thinking this stuff. Now we know why lawyers are the brunt of so many mean jokes. Disgusting!!!

  • Furry1993 Somewhere in Utah, UT
    May 17, 2011 10:19 a.m.

    Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped and raped repeatedly, and Mitchell says she wasn't traumatized by what he did to her. GEEZ LOUISE!!!!! What a bunch of "baloney" Mitchell is spreading.

  • The Utah Republican Alpine, UT
    May 17, 2011 10:10 a.m.

    I can imagine that lawyer telling a judge, "While it is true that my client stabbed the victim with a knife, the victim didn't die and in fact has shown remarkable healing."

    This kind of spurious argument reflects badly on our legal system and on our society.

  • Gruffi Gummi Lehi, UT
    May 17, 2011 10:10 a.m.

    This is an insult to the victim.

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    May 17, 2011 9:44 a.m.

    No wonder that Shakespeare wanted to kill all of the lawyers.

  • heidi ho Fort Collins, CO
    May 17, 2011 9:37 a.m.

    I was profoundly affected by the sexual abuse by my biological father, but the full effects were not felt until I got married and had to do with all the ramifications of sexual trauma. It has caused thousands and thousands of dollars of counseling, heartache to myself, my husband, and my children. The trauma doesn't just magically disappear. The internal system develops coping mechanisms that are not healthy enough to stand the constant abuse and until everything is looked at, and combed through, any sense of normality will be replaced by flashbacks, defense systems built up by the inner child to deal with the constant fear of "when is it going to happen next", ad infinitum. I pray for all victims of child molestation. The scripure that says "it is better that a millstone be hung around the neck" of anyone that offends little children is very apt in this situation.

  • slgs5aggie Cedar City, UT
    May 17, 2011 9:32 a.m.

    Probably one of the more disgusting headlines I have read in a long time. I can't even bring myself to read the article. My stomach is turning that much.

  • PAC Phoenix, AZ
    May 17, 2011 9:28 a.m.

    No Damage...You must be kidding me....Now I have read it all...

  • Spot Light Beverly Hills, CA
    May 17, 2011 9:20 a.m.

    LOL! Give Mitchell 30 years of hard labor for standing behind this crock!

  • MizMia Salem, UT
    May 17, 2011 9:19 a.m.

    I'm sorry but individuals, even the father, making such a claim are foolish, irresponsible, insensitive, and totally ignorant of the facts concerning the psychological effects of abuse on individuals, male or female. It may be awhile down the road, but I would dare say that Elizabeth Smart will experience emotional difficulties as the real trauma of those events begin to surface!

  • On the other hand Spanish Fork, UT
    May 17, 2011 9:17 a.m.

    Remember that the constitution grants Mr. Mitchell the right to a fair trial, and if his lawyers didn't pursue every possible avenue on his behalf, he could ask to have the verdict or the sentence thrown out on grounds of ineffective assistance of counsel. Don't worry, folks, the judge and jury weren't born yesterday, and they can weigh both sides' arguments and reach an appropriate conclusion. Truth will prevail here.

  • Ms Molli Bountiful, Utah
    May 17, 2011 9:12 a.m.

    We should all hope and pray that the defense attorneys continue to provide the very best possible defense that Mitchell can get. For all of you who want to judge them, would you rather that Mitchell be able to appeal his sentence for having lousey representation? Get real people. Just hang in there and let them do their job and justice will prevail.

  • Independent Henderson, NV
    May 17, 2011 9:12 a.m.

    So, I guess if Elizabeth were to keep playing the victim her whole life, Mitchell would deserve a harsher punishment? I guess if you have a strong support system to help you overcome tragedy, people can do unspeakable things to you and get off with a slap on the wrist? I really hope the judge sees past all this nonsense.

  • gmak Spanish Fork, UT
    May 17, 2011 9:06 a.m.

    Just because she has had remarkable support, counseling and a strong will of her own, does not mean that she did not suffer incredible psychological damage. What a crock! Hopefully, the judge is wiser than the lawyers (and it wouldn't take much).

  • ST Layton, UT
    May 17, 2011 8:59 a.m.

    These Defense attorneys- should get nine months captivity in state prison at the point of the mountain to help them understand a little bit of what it might have been like.

  • jemod Bedford, WY
    May 17, 2011 8:57 a.m.

    yer kiddin