February 25, 2010

Sending A Clear Signal

Via Bleakonomy, I see the deeply saddening and deeply disturbing case of Dr. Earl Bradley, a small-town pediatrician from suburban Delaware.  Dr. Bradley was arrested and has been formally accused of thirty-three counts of molestation of children, some of them very, very young.  The number of informal accusations will probably top a hundred by the time the case gets wrapped up. 

Dr. Bradley's M.O., according to the news report, involved getting the child into an examination room in the basement of his office building with no parents or other chaperones (read: witnesses) in attendance.  He would then allegedly rape the children and video himself doing it.  I assume that the prosecution is based on the authorities somehow getting hold of this video.  I can only assume further that Dr. Bradley's attorney has seen the videos.  There is no other explanation for this comment to ABC News:
It seems to me that we need to do a very rigorous exploration of his mental health and see if there's any pathology there ... This case kind of cries out for that kind of analysis.
I can think of one, and exactly one, reason why I might want to say something like that about my own client.  That reason, of course, is that I know good and damn well that I cannot possibly defend the case on the merits and I need to start steering for a diminished mental capacity (commonly known as "insanity") defense immediately.  The only other explanation for such a comment would be a colossal mistake on the part of the attorney because such a statement pretty much presumes that the actus reus is exactly what the prosecution says it is.

Actually, I hope that the defense attorney is right.  The idea that someone might do this sort of thing while not suffering from a profound mental defect is simply too terrifying to contemplate.


trumwill said...

Tangential: You do criminal defense work? I thought you were a civil case lawyer (and traffic judge?)

Burt Likko said...

Your thoughts were right; I do not practice criminal law myself. But if I ever get to be a judge, I'll need to know criminal law.