Friday, June 16, 2006

"And How Did That Make You Feel?"

FOXNews: Housewife Convicted of Murdering Her Therapist Husband

Okay, that's a story I'll read.

A suburban housewife serving as her own attorney...

Ohhhkay. Probably not a good move, but I'll keep reading.
...was convicted Friday...

Not surprising given her attorney's legal training.
...of fatally stabbing her therapist husband, ending a circus-like trial in which she cross-examined two of her sons and discussed her psychic powers.

I'm sorry, did you say psychic powers? You did? I see.
Susan Polk, 48, was convicted of second-degree murder in the October 2002 killing of Felix Polk, 70, at the couple's home in Orinda, about 15 miles east of San Francisco.

Or 6 miles west of Oakland, or for that matter, 80 miles southwest Sacramento. Is there someting special about San Francisco that makes it the proper geographic reference point for this story? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
Prosecutors had sought a first-degree murder conviction, arguing Polk plotted to kill her husband so she could get his multimillion-dollar estate.

Multi-million dollar estate? Who the hell were his patients?
But Polk countered that her husband died after she fought back in self-defense following years of abuse. Polk was a 14-year-old when she began treatment with Felix Polk.

I'm not sure I read that right; let me see it one more time.
Polk was a 14-year-old when she began treatment with Felix Polk.

Yep, I had it right the first time. She was the teenage patient of her husband. Don't they have rules against people related like this getting married? Did we decide at some point these rules were too oppressive? If he wanted to meet teenage girls he could have just used MySpace; the psych degree was probably overkill.
"We didn't think Susan was credible," said juror Lisa Christwell. [Juror Kathy] Sommese added that Polk was "delusional."

Lisa is very polite; Kathy is very perceptive.
While on the stand, Polk discussed secret government experiments, psychic powers and the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, claiming she predicted the World Trade Center attacks but her husband prevented her from alerting authorities.

She had been a patient of her husband since the age of 14, so he'd probably have known what was best for her.
Scores of observers came to the courthouse in the San Francisco suburb...

Again with the San Francisco stuff. see Polk in action and hear sensational stories of illicit affairs, mind control and family dysfunction.

Illicit affairs? Why am I just hearing about this now? Oh, right, because he was 70 years old. Eww.
Polk was animated and often angry throughout the trial. She talked over the judge, insulted prosecutor Paul Sequeira and continually called for a mistrial.

Ms. Polk puts the "cissism" in "narcissism". She also takes care of the "nar".
In perhaps the trial's most memorable moment, Polk's son Adam called his mother "bonkers" and "cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs," on the witness stand, referring to the catch phrase used in advertisements for the breakfast cereal.

Helpful of the reporter to nail down the source of that reference for us. I must admit I was mystified at first about that Cocoa Puffs thing, but thanks to the reporter, I am now empowered with the truth.
The judge had to hold back laughter.

I don't blame him.
Polk testified that her husband attacked her with a kitchen knife that she seized and used to stab him in self-defense. A pathologist testifying for her said Felix Polk died of a heart attack not dozens of stab wounds.

Okay, let's parse this a little. He attacked her with a kitchen knife and then, after taking control of the weapon, stabbed him dozens of times. In self-defense. After having defended herself enough to get the weapon away from him. And anyway, those dozens of stab wounds didn't kill him, a heart attack did.
Sequeira argued Susan Polk had no wounds that would indicate she was protecting herself in a violent struggle.

Ah, poor reality, innocently disrupting Ms. Polk's delusions.
Sequeira urged jurors to disregard the strange testimony and instead focus on what happened the night Felix Polk was killed. He argued Susan Polk was a manipulative liar who turned on anyone who didn't agree with her version of reality.

I think that the key problem is that Ms. Polk didn't think that hers was simply a version of reality, but reality itself. She doesn't think she is lying; she thinks everyone else is lying. Her husband was doomed. It's too bad he wasn't a shrink or something, someone who might be able to spot her problems before they became overwhelming. Oh wait, he was a shrink or something.
"Susan had no right to take him from us," Adam Polk said after the verdict.

The sanest thing anyone can say about in this whole case.

More seriously, every case I know of where a person acted as their own counsel resulted in a conviction for that individual. And every case involved a person who was either obviously or at least arguably unhinged. I'd even include Kevorkian; his mania for helping people die is not redeemed for being associated with a political movement. Can it really be protective of our rights that we make special efforts to indulge the rights of narcissistic loons knowing, or having to reason to know, that it will only result in their going to prison? Is it really just to say, "well, they have a right to represent themselves" when we know how it's going to turn out for them but they are too self-absorbed to know themselves?

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