The Death Penalty

America’s Serial Killers – How Many?

by Diane Dimond on January 16, 2012

How Many Are There in America?

It was a small but horrifying item in the Los Angeles Times. “Police are asking for the public’s help in identifying what they call a ‘serious, dangerous serial killer operating in Orange County. Police believe one person is responsible for stabbing three middle-aged homeless men. He is (considered) extremely dangerous to the public.” Another serial killer, I thought. And then the question: How many serial killers are out there in America? John Douglas, a former Chief of the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit and author of “Mind Hunter” says, “A very conservative estimate is that there are between 35-50 active serial killers in the United States” at any given time. Often, Douglas told me, they will, “kill 2-3 victims and then have a “cooling-off” period between kills.” [click to continue…]

{ 20 comments }

Do Prisoners Deserve Free Medical Treatment?

by Diane Dimond on September 5, 2011

Health Care in Prison? It is Constitutionally protected

TThey are charged with breaking laws or victimizing fellow citizens. We respond by making sure they get a lawyer – often on the taxpayer’s dime. If they plead “not guilty” we stage expensive trials for them so they can provide evidence to a judge or jury.  If convicted, they are imprisoned.
So, after all that do we have an obligation to provide prisoners with any and all medicines they might need to keep them healthy?

While so many Americans are struggling to meet health insurance and prescription costs – services for prisoners constantly increase.  And make no mistake about it, America has so many incarcerated people we are spending boat-loads of money on convicts’ medical care. Their services cannot be cut. But health care programs for the general public have been cut back time and time again. [click to continue…]

{ 31 comments }

Remembering All Victims

by Diane Dimond on June 27, 2011

Giffords, Five Months After Shooting

How wonderful to see the recent photos of a smiling Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords as she left the hospital five months after being viciously shot in the head by 21 year old Jared Loughner. Our hearts went out to Giffords and to the families of the 19 other victims, 6 of whom died.

But what about the family of Jared Loughner? Did you stop to think about them? The pain and suffering of Jared’s parents makes them victims too. And, in the end, if Jared is declared fit to stand trial, Arizona’s death penalty might be used to take away their only son.

[click to continue…]

{ 1 comment }

Thank You, Dr. Kevorkian

by Diane Dimond on June 13, 2011

Dr. Kevorkian Helped Us Think About Death

Hardly a day goes by that I don’t remember holding my stricken mother’s hand as she laid on a special hospital bed we had set up in her living room. It was there she took her last breath.

Almost every day I think about how my father died in the bedroom of the home he loved so much. Both my parents passed away exactly how they lived – on their own terms.

They wanted no heroic measures to prolong their lives and they adamantly told me – their only child – that they did not want to die in a cold, impersonal hospital room. They made me promise to abide by their wishes. And just in case, they signed a living will putting it all in writing.

I thank Dr. Jack Kevorkian for that. He started the national dialogue about death that opened up the topic for discussion in my household. [click to continue…]

{ 26 comments }

Time for Professional Jurors?

by Diane Dimond on May 23, 2011

Taking a Seat Here Can Change Your Life

Having spent the better part of the last two weeks watching an excruciatingly long jury selection for a capital murder case I’m left wondering – is it time for the United States to begin using professional jurors?

During the last couple weeks I watched intently as prospective jurors took the stand to explain to the court the financial hardship that leaving work to judge another would bring to their lives. Some of them work for employers who grant paid leave for jury duty but often it covered only a day or two. Many others worked for struggling small businesses or are self-employed and they explained that every day they didn’t show up at work was lost profit or a day’s pay docked off their paycheck. [click to continue…]

{ 16 comments }

America’s Reaction To Bin Laden

by Diane Dimond on May 9, 2011

And, It Restored Our National Unity

Doesn’t it seem sad somehow that it took the assassination of Osama Bin Laden to re-ignite our national patriotism?

For ten very long years Bin Laden has been our Public Enemy Number One, our officially sanctioned Bogey Man. After his death was announced the spontaneous gatherings that occurred outside the White House, at sporting events and other locations around America were truly inspiring, especially when the crowds began to sing the National Anthem.

For me it brought back memories of a decade ago (has it been that long?!) when all of us banded together after the 9/11 attacks and regardless of race, class or political affiliation we collectively declared our pride in – and allegiance to – our country.

After September 11, 2001 we agreed justice would be ours. But, as the years passed we drifted away from that feeling of national unity and our public discourse became mired in ugly and divisive political rhetoric.

Now, with Bin Laden’s death we’ve finally gotten that justice. Feel better? [click to continue…]

{ 2 comments }

Could Her Mother Have Killed Her?

We are presumed innocent until proven guilty in this country. We are guaranteed a fair trial by an impartial jury. That’s the bedrock of our justice system.

 

But what about the high profile defendant who lives through months and sometimes years of sensational media coverage before their case comes to trial? The potential jury pool in their community can become saturated with negative news about the accused, leaving people to justifiably ask how in the world a fair trial can be conducted.

The upcoming capital murder case of 25 year old Casey Anthony of Orlando, Florida makes my point. [click to continue…]

{ 30 comments }

Death Penalty Debate Renewed

by Diane Dimond on March 14, 2011

Time to Re-Think?

I’m against the death penalty.

Until I’m not.

Mention a criminal who has sexually abused or murdered a child and I waver. Show me a terrorist who wants to kill Americans because we don’t share his religion and I vacillate. Catch a stone cold cop killer and I think if we don’t punish the murderer to the fullest we allow the very fabric of our nation’s security to unravel.

Yet, with all that said, there seems to be a built in contradiction to killing a killer, don’t you think? [click to continue…]

{ 31 comments }

Terrorists on Trial – Do We Give Them What They Want?

by Diane Dimond on November 22, 2009

Mohammed Wants All Americans Dead

Mohammed Wants All Americans Dead

So, the so-called 9-11 Gang of Five will go on trial in a federal court as opposed to before a military commission. The bottom line question then has to be: Are you ready for the possibility that Khalid Sheik Mohammed or any of his fellow collaborators might walk free on a sly defense attorney’s manipulation of our system?

Don’t think it couldn’t happen.

Millionaire Robert Durst walked free even after he admitted to murdering a neighbor. In my opinion O.J. Simpson got a free pass too after taking the lives of his ex-wife, Nicole and her friend Ron Goldman. I could cite other cases in which juries, again in my opinion, did not come to the right conclusion. Take it from me it happens.

As you sit reading this column there are American lawyers preparing and strategizing right now on how they might secure the freedom of … [click to continue…]

{ 16 comments }

A Crime and Justice Wish List For 2009

by Diane Dimond on December 26, 2008

dandelionwish

Wishes For Justice

‘Tis the season to wish good things for the year ahead so here’s my list.

I hope the worsening economy does not translate into a higher crime rate. Scholars and police disagree about whether bad economic times and high unemployment necessarily equals more crime. I agree with the boots-on-the-ground police types who tell me crime especially thefts, burglaries and domestic abuse does go up in hard times.

I hope our new President gets a handle on illegal immigration. [click to continue…]

{ 14 comments }